Standard Bank backs African Corporate Governance Conference

As one of the oldest Bank’s in the country, Standard Bank takes pride in maintaining high standards of corporate governance, while complying with the requirements of the legislation in all the countries in which we operate.

To that end, Standard Bank this week announced that it invested an astounding N$150 000 to the upcoming African Corporate Governance Network and Corporate Governance Conference which will be held in Namibia on the 7th to the 9th of March this year. Deloitte, Pricewaterhouse Coopers and Air Namibia are also among the sponsors who are backing the conference.

“In this fast paced world of business integrity and accountability, the topic of corporate governance cannot be over-emphasised enough…Corporate governance is primarily intended to increase the accountability of a company and to mitigate major incidents before they occur. This can be achieved by organisations holding meaningful and relevant engagements with its key stakeholders such as employees, shareholders, customers and community leaders in order to address the requests and needs of the affected parties,” Standard Bank’s Legal Services , Sumari Rusch, said during the official launch of the conference on 28 February at the Standard Bank Head Office in Windhoek.

Rusch explained that corporate governance is of paramount importance to any company and is almost as important as its primary business plan. When executed effectively, it can potentially prevent corporate scandals, fraud and even civil or criminal liability. It also enhances a company’s image in the public eye as a self-policing company that is responsible and worthy of shareholder capital.

“Corporate governance dictates philosophy, without which corners might be cut, products might be defective or management might grow complacent or even corrupt. The end result is a fall that will occur when gravity, in the form of possible audited financial reports or criminal investigations, finally catches up, and possibly closing down an organisation overnight. Dishonest and unethical dealings by an organisation can cause shareholders to flee out of fear, distrust and disgust,” she warned.

The three fellow sponsors also concurred with Rusch, with Deloitte’s Director of Risk Advisory, Melanie Harrison stating that her organization hoped that the ICG would provide a competitive advantage by guiding and educating Namibian entities on principles of good governance.

“This (the conference) will in return maximise Namibia’s economic performance, increase Namibia’s access to capital and foreign direct investment,” she stressed.

Speaking on behalf of the Chairperson of the  Institute of Corporation Governance (ICG) Escher Luanda, ICG Board Member, Steve Galloway, expressed his gratitude towards the sponsors for stepping up to the plate to make the event a success.

“Responsible businesses are now expected to engage in business practices that create sustainable value in the long term. We need to work collectively in Namibia. The continent is increasingly exposed to serious sustainability challenges such as water scarcity climate change, corruption and poverty. Hence, our deliberations with the Conference which attempts to link governance practices to positive economic benefits,” he explained.

He said that the conference would be held under the theme “corporate governance as driver of sustainable economic development”. “We will be drawing the brightest minds to embrace challenges, forge solutions and define the future of governance both in Namibia and on the African continent,” Galloway said.

Speakers will include the Minister of Public Enterprises Leon Jooste, African Corporate Governance Conference (ACGC) Judge Professor Mervyn King, Governance Consultant Patrick Chisanga, Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (NCCI) Sven Thieme and Executive Director for the Centre for Corporate Governance in Africa, Dr Daniel Malan, to name a few.

The event is expected to attract governance, risk and control professionals from 20 African countries. It will feature various sessions during which participants can expand their network whilst sharing ideas with practitioners across various industries.