In mid-2011, FSVC began implementing Global Development Alliance (GDA) program funded by USAID to provide technical assistance to support the mission of the East African Community (EAC) Secretariat to harmonize EAC policies and corresponding legal frameworks; integrate East African financial markets; and promote reforms critical to sustainable economic growth and development. Specifically, FSVC has helped to build the capacity of the EAC Partner States, as well as the EAC Secretariat. Building the capacity of the EAC Secretariat was critical as it is the government entity responsible for leading the financial sector harmonization process. FSVC’s program also focused on bringing EAC financial sector stakeholders together to review and understand the differing legal and regulatory environments in which the Partner States were operating in, as well as the varying policies and practices they were employing.
During the program, FSVC designed demand-driven projects delivered by senior financial sector practitioners who served as unpaid volunteers. FSVC’s unique volunteer-based model enabled the identification and provision of individuals with specific skill sets, drawing on an unrivaled pool of global talent to address the needs identified by the EAC counterparts. FSVC’s program has helped to bring about regional harmonization of the insurance, pension and payments sectors. It has done so through a continued collaborative effort among key stakeholders (e.g., EAC Secretariat, Partner States’ governments, EAC private sectors) to remove legal and regulatory obstacles, and to build consensus toward regional best practices and standards.
Overall, FSVC’s work in East Africa focused on five main programmatic areas. These areas included:
- Insurance: Supported insurance regulators in implementing improved supervision techniques;
- Pension: Assisted pension funds in improving their pension policies;
- Banking: Introduced banking regulators to the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) standards.;
- Anti-Money Laundering: Helped the Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) within the EAC determine regional best practices to combat money laundering;
- Burundi: Provided direct capacity-building technical assistance to the financial sector, regulatory agencies and public sector institutions of Burundi, to help stakeholders gain a better understanding of international standards in key financial areas, and increase their participation in the regional reform process.
- FSVC’s technical assistance in the area of insurance helped lay the foundation for harmonized regulatory practices. The introduction of risk-based insurance supervision has harmonized insurance regulation in the region;
- FSVC’s work with TASK (The Actuarial Society of Kenya) helped create a regional training program for East African graduates who wish to enter the actuarial profession, and will introduce ultimately a cadre of regionally-trained and certified actuaries;
- FSVC’s technical assistance in the microfinance sector helped highlight the varying practices, regulatory environment and legal frameworks that microfinance businesses are currently operating in, in East Africa;
- FSVC’s technical assistance in the payment sector has been a critical factor in convincing the central banks of the EAC Partner States to roll-out EAPS (East Africa Payments System);
- FSVC’s technical assistance helped pension funds improve their pension policies so that they can expand their pension investment capabilities, and helped pension supervisors understand the standards and guidelines of the International Organisation of Pension Supervisors (IOPS);