Abuja Pension Summit And Prospects For Nigeria

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By Mbakaan Kwen, Abuja

The World Pension Summit ‘Africa Special’ is an annual specialised Summit for Africa. The summit, which is jointly planned with the National Pension Commission of Nigeria (PenCom) brings together African pension professionals to share ideas and brainstorm on specific African pension innovations, key scenarios, and scheme developments.

The first Africa Special edition of the world event held in Abuja, Nigeria, in 2014, to mark the 10th anniversary of pension reforms in Nigeria. Nigeria, which took a leading role in pension administration with the enactment of the Pension Reform Act 2004, has become a role model in pension fund administration on the African continent.

The theme of this year’s event, where global insights and best practices would be presented, shared and discussed by renowned international experts, is ‘Pension Innovations: The Africa Perspective.’

The summit in Nigeria is timely, coming at a time the country is in economic recession. Experts say the summit would provide the needed technical-knowhow to address some of the critical issues in the economic sector.

The Director-General of (PenCom), Mrs Chinelo Anohu-Amazu said that the World Pension Summit Africa Special that will kick off in Abuja next week, will deepen the discussion around ensuring that pension funds are invested in the real sector for visible and measurable impact on the economy, while booting retirement benefits.

The DG said she is excited by the opportunities that the world summit will present, among them providing solutions to some of Africa’s most pressing pension investment challenges.

Global experts on pension innovation, leaders of thought and key practitioners are expected in Abuja between September 27 and 28 to brainstorm on key elements of developing and structuring a sustainable pension system for Nigeria and other African nations

With the theme “Pension Innovations: The African Perspective”, the summit, as designed by PenCom in partnership with the Pension and Investments/World Pension Summit, Amsterdam, will focus on innovations in the pension industry in Nigeria and Africa.

The World Pension Summit “Africa Special” is the platform to exchange knowhow, supporting professionals in social security and in all aspects of pensions to gain the expertise. It is also about taking the pragmatic essential steps to professionalize pensions and make them ‘future proof’.

The DG, PenCom said the summit which is well-packaged to attract professionals around the world, is aimed at exchanging expertise between all pension professionals in Africa and to stimulate pension market developments and pension innovation.

In particular, she said this year’s edition of the summit would focus on key areas and experiences on relevant topics and developments such as: pension innovations; the dynamics of pension investment (ALM, new asset classes, infrastructure investments); ESG for pension funds & impact investing; financial inclusion covering financial literacy, micro pensions & social security; the impact of new technology on communication; actuarial valuation and their impact on benefits, policy & governance.

In order to stimulate and encourage African scheme owners and funds to work on professionalising retirement practice in Africa, the summit has also planned to host the second edition of the Africa Pension Awards.

‘’The awards ceremony is an integral part of the Summit. It is the ultimate reward for excellence, and a huge stimulus to ensure that Africa’s pensions industry remains innovative’’, the organisers said.

The inaugural Awards in 2015 saw RBA Kenya, NAMFISA Namibia and PenCom Nigeria being honoured for their various roles in the development of the sector on the continent. The 2016 Awards aims to recognise innovations in risk management and communication strategy for improved customer service delivery, socio-economic impact of contributory pension systems, extension of contributory pension coverage and best corporate governance practices.

The summit will attract many key speakers including, Chris Battaglia, the CEO World Pension Summit and Vice President/Group publisher of Pensions & Investments (P&I). Battaglia is of Pensions & Investments (P&I), the pre-eminent international newspaper of money management, and business insurance. He currently serves as Vice President/Group publisher publication serving executives responsible for risk management, insurance, benefits, and brokerage in the global insurance and reinsurance arena.

Founder, World Pension Summit, Mr. Harry Smorenberg, will also present a paper at the summit. He previously worked at Banque Paribas and ABN AMRO and was a director at two leading strategic consultants. He is a financial services marketing and positioning strategist.

He is a leading contributor to innovation in both the retail and corporate payments and transaction space. He has also been actively involved in developing solutions in financial planning, international pensions and ‘social innovations.’

The CEO of Eggink Van Manen/co-founder, World Pension Summit, Mr Eric Eggink, is also scheduled to speak at the event. He started his career as a TV Producer at AVRO TV and hosted a weekly radio programme about studied Dutch literature and Communications Management literature.

The DG of Pencom will also share her versed experience in the management of pension with the global audience at the summit.

Anohu-Amazu served on the Pension Reform Committee set up by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, whose work led to the enactment of the Pension Reform Act (PRA) 2004, the first of the two major legislations that have reformed the Nigerian pension sector.

She was honoured with a presidential commendation for her work on the Committee. After a period working as a consultant for non-governmental organizations and the private sector, she commenced her public sector career with the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and was the pioneer Commission Secretary/Legal Adviser of PenCom.

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