The Botswana International Financial Services Centre (IFSC), alongside the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, hosted the first ever Committee of Insurance Securities and Non-Banking Financial authorities (CISNA) meeting of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) members states.
This meeting, which was held at the Gaborone International Convention Centre, brought together under the same roof SADC member states consisting of regulators of the capital markets, insurer companies, retirement funds, collective investment schemes and providers of intermediary services in SADC. The aim of this gathering was to promote the creation of a comprehensive and harmonized regulatory framework in capital markets, investment services, and insurance and retirement funds.
According to John Kamyuka, who is the Board Member of IFSC, CISNA is charged with establishing sound regulatory frameworks, in order to promote and maintain confidence in the financial systems in the SADC region.
He said the Government of Botswana has also embarked on a wide diversification programme that targets sectors with the potential to make significant contribution to Botswana’s economic activity. Some of the sectors he identified are tourism, ITC, mining industry beneficiation and the financial services.
Kamyuka noted that a significant step to the development of the financial sector was the establishment of the Botswana IFSC.
“IFSC was created to develop the cross-border financial services sector to leverage on Botswana’s solid macro-economic strengths and political stability,” he said.
He highlighted that the IFSC’s key objectives is to generate substantive activity that deepens the sophistication of their financial sector, generate employment, and transfer of new skills and technology.
He said that Botswana has embarked upon financial sector legislative reform, to align the development of IFSC financial services sector with the international best practices. He said the aim here was to enhance the industry’s global competitiveness and to strengthen the soundness of the sector’s regulatory environment, adding that in 2005 the Government introduced the new International Insurance Act, and published the enabling regulations to support and fortify this legislation last year March. Additionally, he said the Government had further taken steps to enhance the scope of regulatory coverage of the non-banking financial institutions sector.
“This includes also the offshore insurance business by establishing an autonomous Non-Banking Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority,” he said.
Kamyuka further explained that the International Insurance Legistalation is intended to provide a regulatory framework necessary to establish Botswana as competitive location from which international insurance services can be rendered to non resident companies and individuals in major convertible currencies. This legislation, he said, enables and facilitates the carrying out of a wide range of cross-border insurance activities such as reinsurance, insurance brokerage and captive insurance operations.
Botswana’s new International Insurance Legislation, he said, has competitively positioned the Botswana IFSC into providing international insurance services to the African and international market.
“The new Act also allows Botswana to take advantage of other opportunities that may exist within the industry globally,” he said, adding that Botswana’s competitiveness as an attractive international insurance domicile is further strengthened by Botswana’s strong socio-economic fundamentals and the country’s good standing in the international financial community.
The noble objectives of the CISNA meeting, he said, are the vital ingredients to nurture a secure, transparent and dependable environment for international investors to have the confidence and faith to transact in the SADC region.
“For the Botswana IFSC, such an environment would enable us to position ourselves as a safe, secure and competitive domicile for the international insurance market.”