ICC Banking Commission Conference in Johannesburg, SA


Last week I attended the annual ICC Banking Commission Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa, where some 400 bankers from over 60 countries gathered together.

Sim Tshabalala, the CEO of Standard Bank, opened the conference referring to the huge gap of Trade Finance in Africa, saying that a recent study showed that 110 – 120 billion USD (roughly 1/3 of the potential African Trade Finance) cannot be financed due to the following reasons:

– Insufficient limits of African banks with large global and regional players

– Small size balance sheets of African banks

– Insufficient USD funding

– Poor credit history

– Local currency fluctuations

Cas Coovadia, Managing Director of the Banking Association of South Africa, referred to the low levels of inter-African Trade Finance which with approximately USD 100 billion is much lower than African trade with Europe (USD 425 billion), and China (USD 150 billion).

In fact, Africa represents 16% of the world population but only 3.3% of Global Trade and the ICC is only represented in 8 countries out of 54 and is definitely on a mission to increase its presence and activity in the continent and become one of the major drivers for the overall development efforts.

It was a great networking event and allowed me to pro-actively share the new Bolero vision and strategy with my banking colleagues and the Trade press (GTR, TFR, TXF). I also enjoyed catching up with my colleagues from the various multi-lateral agencies and make new contacts.

The ICC Banking Commission under the leadership of Daniel Schmand is making very good progress on the various strategic initiatives that its members are working on. For further information please refer to the following website:


The only downside of the 3 days in Johannesburg for me was that I was not able to explore any sites of the country that I visited when I was 23 years old while working for Citibank and exploring the wonderful country.

As they say, the next trip is just around the corner.