Maria Ramos

CEO | ABSA Group

With the best regulated and governed financial system on the continent South Africa certainly has a strong position to attract foreign investment. Absa CEO Maria Ramos explains how to capitalise on this advantage.

South Africa’s financial advantages

South Africa has the second most transparent and well-governed financial system in the world. We need to remember that in this regard, it is not about being on top but rather about ensuring that the financial services sector itself is a well-regulated and world-class entity that is capable of competing with the best in the world – especially in terms of compliance, regulation and legal systems.

South Africa’s capital markets are deep and liquid, which should promote confidence in investors. Not only are they secured to remain this way for the purpose of keeping investor confidence, but care has been taken to ensure that they continue to function. We can also draw assurance from the fact that here the rule of law applies, our courts operate appropriately, and that the law of contract functions well.

There is also a great energy within the sector that comes from innovation and a drive to be first, especially with the development of new products and the push for financial inclusion. The shift to mobile banking in the sector is a good example of this.

Opportunity of Africa’s youth

At ABSA Group we live and breath business and I believe businesses are the most dynamic part of the world. Africa has a lot challenges, however I would not want to live and do business anywhere else in the world. The greatest opportunities are in Africa; it is still the place where we have the greatest growth opportunities from a long-term point of view. This is a continent of young people, and Africa’s strength has always been its people, talent, and the opportunities that come with investing in people.

We are seeing that whatever we are investing in our future ends with our youth. They are starting to take shape and produce the most unbelievably energetic release of capability and talent. Every African country is different, but the one thing we have in common is the youth demographic and their potential. For a long time it was believed that Africa’s strength is in its minerals, but I think it has never been that. It has always been what the people of Africa have been able to accomplish – they are the future of the continent.