By Laz Ibeabuchi
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, said it has reached an agreement with the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) to help improve training and industry knowledge-related corporate governance in Nigerian financial institutions.
The agreement, according to IFC, will build on an existing IFC corporate governance program and a range of investments in the financial sector that encourage ongoing banking sector reforms in Nigeria.
IFC said the agreement will provide assistance and institutional support to CIBN related to its corporate governance curriculum offered to banking-sector members. IFC said its partnership with institutions such as CIBN is a key component of its strategy to increase impact and improve private sector development.
Dr. Uju M. Ogubunka, Registrar/CEO of CIBN said, “Our partnership with IFC will improve the quality of our educational and training program for the banking industry, and will directly impact the skill and competence of banking professionals. It will encourage Nigerian banks to integrate international best practices. The partnership combines CIBN’s leading status as an educational and training institute for Nigerian banks with the international knowledge and experience of IFC.”
Nena Stoiljkovic, IFC Vice President for Business Advisory Services, said, “Sound corporate governance is increasingly recognized for its important role in sustainable private sector development. Improved corporate governance strengthens board oversight and better defines accountability. IFC is committed to working with the private sector to improve practices to promote more investment and development.”
IFC has various Advisory Services programs in Nigeria that encourage financial sector stability. Strengthening corporate governance is a priority for IFC because it encourages better oversight of bank management and better protects shareholders.
Banks in Nigeria, Sub-Saharan Africa’s most populous country and second-biggest economy, repositioned themselves for growth and expansion following recent policy changes and industry consolidation—many with support from IFC. The Central Bank of Nigeria has committed to reinvigorate the country’s banking sector through new policies, while IFC puts new resources into long-term financing and entering into agreements to strengthen banks and help them adopt better practices.
IFC’s banking clients in Nigeria include Access Bank, Diamond Bank, Ecobank Nigeria, FCMB, First Bank, GT Bank, Stanbic-IBTC, and UBA. The new agreement with CIBN expands IFC’s support to a wider range of banks, a statement by IFC said.