The 34th meeting of the Committee of Insurance, Securities and Non-Banking Financial Authorities (Cisna) opened in Lilongwe on Thursday with a call by Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu that the association’s vision to facilitate the development and implementation of a harmonised, risk based framework for member states should be enhanced.
“Since the establishment of Cisna, there has been significant change to the economic and political landscape within the Sadc region. On the economic front, we are seeing transformation of the economies although poverty still remains our biggest challenge,” said Tembenu.
The meeting, which has brought together all Sadc member states in the sector, will, among other things, discuss the integration and harmonisation of the association’s regulatory frameworks.
“I believe that your committee has a significant role to play in our mission to integrate the region”, he said.
He said the financial sector within the Sadc region has, in the recent years, evolved with the proliferation of entities in the non-bank financial sector.
“Arguably, a well-developed non-bank sector often brings resilience to the financial sector and the economy, particularly in times of financial crises. The non-bank financial sector is also key to the enhancement of financial inclusion, especially in increasing access to finance,” said Tembenu.
For regulation of financial institutions to have far reaching impact, it requires all the regulatory authorities to follow international standards and promote a spirit of sharing information, knowledge and experiences, he said.
Governor of the Reserve Bank of Malawi, Charles Chuka, said CISNA’s vision to facilitate the development and implementation of a harmonised, risk-based regulatory framework for member states in the Sadc region is an important objective for advancing progress in the Sadc integration agenda.
“Harmonisation of the legal and operational frameworks in the financial service sector is key not only to reducing the cost of doing business but also to enhancing resource mobilization in the region. The Cisna has a major role to play in defining and creating condition for seamless financial flows and services in Sadc,” he said.
He applauded the efforts made by Cisna in incorporating microfinance and medical aid schemes within its structures, and also putting in place technical committees on market development.
He said the Reserve Bank of Malawi is committed to Cisna’s harmonisation agenda having already carried out financial sector reforms aimed at strengthening regulatory and institutional frameworks.
“We introduced new laws in the areas of pension, insurance, banking, microfinance and capital markets. We are now in the process of putting in place a regulatory framework for micro-finance as part of our financial inclusion drive. Soon, we will also embark on regulation of medical aid schemes,” said.
The vice chairperson of Cisna, Tafadzwa Chinamo, said his committee has made great strides in harmonising the insurance sector in the past 17 years.
“Harmonisation can be achieved faster if all member states are consistent with international standards,” Chinamo said. n