By Maduka Nweke
Ahead of the Third World Pension Summit being hosted by Nigeria, Director-General of the National Pension Commission (PenCom), Mrs. Chinelo Anohu-Amazu, yesterday, said Nigeria would continue to provide the needed leadership in African continental pension industry. She also said such roles have become necessary in face of Africa’s humongous infrastructure deficit estimated at over $300 billion.
Speaking during a World Press Conference in Lagos, the DG explained that the summit which is scheduled for September 27 and 28, 2016, would catalyse economic development in Nigeria and across the African continent. She said it is also aimed at harnessing African talents in pension and other support services such as in investments, insurance, actuarial valuations amongst others.
The theme of the summit is: ‘Pension Innovation: African Perspective’
According to her, it is expected that this year’s summit would again bring together professionals and highly experienced resource persons from across the world in the areas of investment, actuarial science, insurance, coverage extension and other pension-related fields.
She said that some investors do not get funds from the industry because they fail to meet the requirements in the investment guidelines adding that PenCom is willing to invest in infrastructure and other projects, but the terms and conditions spelt out in the investment guidelines must be strictly adhered to.
“There is no doubt that African countries have achieved significant strides in the extension of pension coverage to the informal sector and the self- employed. Indeed, access to financial services has remained a huge challenge across the continent due to low awareness of the existence of these services, coupled with the absence of clear understanding of customer preferences on financial products and services” she said.
Anohu-Amazu, argued that two insurance products, namely, Group Life Insurance and Life Annuity, are key to successful implementation of benefits payout schemes by pension managers.
In the summit, she said, a section has been dedicated to address the challenges of the roles of insurance and how to deliver long- term retirement outcomes.
“As you are fully aware, Africa today faces huge infrastructure deficits. Pension funds, as a long-term capital, are ideally suited to address some of these infrastructure challenges,” she said.
The DG noted that the summit which has been divided into sessions, would feature sessions like, Regional Reports; Revolutionary Strides in Pensions by African Countries; Plenary on Emerging Insurance Role to address the challenges of the roles of insurance and how to deliver long term retirement outcomes.
“The plenary on ‘The Dynamics of Pension Investment’ would address pension investments in alternative asset classes. The panel will address how pension funds can be tailored towards impactful, visible and measurable investments thereby making Africa achieve its optimum potentials on sustainable platform.”
A plenary on ‘financial inclusion’ has been designed to proffer ways to efficiently and effectively design financial literacy programmes and share experience on micro pension design and policy implementation. Due to its significance to the success of any pension reform, the use of technology in pension administration would be discussed for the third consecutive time.
“The topic, ‘Pension distribution: The impact of Technology’, would showcase new methods and advancements in technology that could be effectively deployed to provide efficient services to pension plan members, particularly in awareness creation and communication. The World Pension Summit -Africa Special’ will for the first time feature discussions on the topic, ‘Actuarial issues and their impact on Pension Benefits’. The Plenary will discuss issues such as actuarial assessment tools, policy and governance”she said.