The Principal Secretary, National Treasury & Planning;
Board Members of Pensions Supervisory bodies;
CEO, FSD Africa – Co-sponsor of the Conference;
IOPS representatives- great supporter of the Conference;
Invited Key Speakers;
Fellow CEOs & Management of Pensions Supervisory bodies;
Ladies and Gentlemen
It is a great pleasure and honor to play host to this Inaugural Africa Pension Supervisors Conference themed “unleashing Africa’s pension Potential”. May I take this early opportunity to welcome you to Kenya and specifically to Nairobi “the green city in the sun” which prides itself as one of the few cities with a national park which you should not miss to visit during your stay.
Ladies and Gentlemen, may I also take this auspicious opportunity to acknowledge all the countries who honored our invitation and are represented in this conference. This conference is one of it’s kind to be hosted in the continent that brings together pensions supervisors to discuss policy issues touching on the pensions sector across the African continent. As you are aware, African problems and issues are unique in nature and best understood by Africans who also have the best solutions these problems.
Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to give you a brief snapshot of the Africa’s pension sector and the opportunity that lies therein with a stable and growing pensions industry. The growth of pension assets in Africa has remained on an upward path over the years as a result of concerted efforts observed over time in most African countries where governments have been pushing for conversion of schemes from defined benefits (DB) to defined contribution (DC). Also, there has been a push by most governments to ensure extension of coverage to more private sector workers especially those in the informal sector. However, the total pension assets in most African countries remains low, below 20% as a percentage of GDP, except for South Africa, Namibia, Swaziland and Bostwana where pension assets as percentage of GDP is about 67%, 68%, 41% and 39% respectively as at 2017. In Kenya specifically, the pension coverage has grown to reach over 20% of the total labor force with the pension assets increasing from a figure of USD 1 billion in 2001 to USD 4.5 billion in 2018 and finally to the current figure of about USD 12 billion as at December of 2018. This growth in assets is attributed to a number of key factors among them being sound regulatory and supervision of the sector thereby realizing a stable retirement benefits industry that observes good governance of retirement benefits schemes and ensures prudent investment of pension funds.
Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to conclude my remarks by reiterating the importance of the pension sector in the development of economies in the African continent. The sector has a potential of financing major investment projects in the economy especially mega infrastructural investments. This can only be realized through consolidation of pension funds in the continent. This therefore underpins the need for pensions supervisors within African to work together hence the need for such a forum that will allow us a regular platform for collaboration, co-operation and exchange of information and ideas to better supervise, regulate and grow the sector in the Continent. Such discourse for the Continent is long overdue as other regions where IOPS draws its membership already enjoy such discourses like is the case with Latin American membership in IOPS.
Thank you and God bless.