In its 42nd year since it debuted in Scotland, United Kingdom in 1975, the World Conference of Banking Institutes (WCBI) will, for the first time, be hosted by Nigeria, courtesy of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN).
The WCBI is an international programme in the banking and finance world that brings together global players in that sector of the economy. The primary purpose is to find and adopt contemporary best practices for the building and development of human capital needed for the leadership, management and operations of banks and financial institutions.
From April 24-28, 2017, the who-is-who in the world of banking and finance will gather at Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos to “Re-Think the Future of Banking and Finance and Life-Long Learning” as well as its derivative sub-themes: Re-professionalising banking through continuous education; dynamics of competition; the need for and role of banking/finance standards; among others. It will certainly be a hectic week of strategic discourse for professional banking and finance institutes, other providers of human capacity building and development services, regulators, operators, professionals and practitioners as well as consumers in the global banking and finance sector.
But as banking institutes do not educate and train individuals for their own use; as banking and finance organisations do not employ individuals who deliver services to them; and as life-long-learning ought to be open and accessible to all, the 22nd WCBI should directly or indirectly be of interest to all who either have some notable contributions to make or seek to better their lots through the instrumentality of the global forum.
Although the over 50-person faculty put together by the Conference Organising Committee empanelled by CIBN and the diverse participating delegates from all over the world will surely surpass expectations, the conference nevertheless, presents opportunities for all stakeholders in the banking and finance industry to make contributions towards the education of individuals who service their financial needs. They (stakeholders) should come out and tell educators and trainers of banking and finance professionals the world over, the type of knowledge and skills they believe should be inculcated into those needed in the present and foreseeable future, to deliver banking and other financial services to customers and other consumers.
It has taken 42 years for this opportunity to come to Nigeria and no one knows when next it will come. So, this chance must not be missed but seized by anyone that strongly feels he has something worthy to offer to the world. The ideas proffered will not reside in Nigeria but will resonate throughout the world.
It is remarkable that Nigeria is hosting this conference at a time when the: country is grappling with an economy in recession in which the banking and finance industry is being expected to play leading roles in not only reversing the situation but also catalysing its growth; nation is waging unrelenting wars against corruption, money laundering and other financial-related vices; global economy is emphasising a re-birth of ethical professionalism and good corporate governance. Indeed, it is here at a time the world is crying aloud for the production of adequate number of qualified and skilled banking and finance professionals to take charge in the ever dynamic world of finance with its inherent risks in order to prevent another round of global financial crisis.
But besides the conference, a unique initiative, the Global Banking Education Standards Board (GBEStB) that banking institutes all over the world have been working on and looking forward to its debut, will be launched and its Global Council comprising the founding members (of which Nigeria is one) inaugurated in the country. The GBEStB is an organ being set up to develop and issue international best practice standards that will guide the education and training of bankers globally. It will certainly be a great landmark for such a global Board, already with over 21 countries, cutting across all continents of the world, subscribing as founding members, to be launched and the Council inaugurated in this country.
Perhaps, it is important to mention that, from the time the decision was reached in the Bahamas during the 19th edition of the WCBI, for the establishment of the board, Nigeria’s CIBN has been a member of the taskforce (a form of technical committee) set up to birth the GBEStB. Fate has so made it that the board will come live in Nigeria.
Therefore, as CIBN and other members of the taskforce are hereby congratulated and as the organising committee of the 22nd WCBI is equally congratulated, for their respective contributions towards the success of the two major events, it is imperative to note that the 22nd WCBI taking place here in Lagos, the Centre of Excellence, is evidently more than a conference. It could not have come to Nigeria at a better time. Nigeria and, indeed, the entire world should take full advantage thereof, for the best.
In the meantime, all delegates and faculty are welcome to Nigeria and wished long-lasting rewarding and memorable experiences.
Dr. Ogubunka, a banking and finance profession consultant, is the CEO of Corporate Skills Bridge Ltd.