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Good governance worldwide

10 April 2017 by Simon Osborne

Good governance worldwide - read more

Partnerships strengthen the Associated Territories, says Simon Osborne

On 13 and 14 March, en route to the half-yearly face-to-face meeting of the Institute’s international council in Johannesburg, I accompanied UKRIAT President Frank Curtiss to Lusaka for ICSA’s inaugural conference for governance professionals in Zambia.

We were particularly grateful for the support of the Cabinet Office for the conference, with Permanent Secretary (Special Duties) Dr Felix Phiri, kindly opening the event and staying for the programme. I gave a presentation about the minute taking guidance we launched in September last year. It never ceases to amaze me how this topic arouses so much interest among governance professionals.

The event was organised in association with the Institute of Directors of Zambia. Speakers included Chibamba Kanyama, a corporate communication specialist who has worked for the International Monetary Fund, who discussed the corporate governance landscape in Zambia, and Chris Hodge, ICSA Policy Adviser and former Director of Corporate Governance at the Financial Reporting Council, who deliberated on ‘The future of corporate governance’.

Chris also chaired a panel discussion on that subject, with panellists including Frank Curtiss, Chibamba Kanyama and Professor Esther Munalula Nkandu, the President of IoD Zambia. A students’ evening was held as well as a meeting with the Zambia Centre for Accountancy Studies about re-establishing tuition in Lusaka for the Chartered Secretaries Qualifying Scheme.

“This year’s conference focused on the importance of strategy in corporate governance and tackled contemporary governance issues in Uganda”

On 22 March, ICSA Uganda joined forces once more with Uganda’s Capital Markets Authority for the sixth annual Directors and Company Secretaries Conference in Kampala. This year’s conference focused on the importance of strategy in corporate governance and tackled contemporary governance issues in Uganda.

Justine Bagyenda, Director, Supervision Directorate at the Bank of Uganda provided the keynote speech, which addressed the conference theme ‘Governance: a tool for driving business growth’. Other speakers covered the role and responsibilities of board members in the listing process and considered if being listed is a panacea for success. There was also insight into the company secretary’s role as the primary governance professional. The guest of honour was State Minister of Finance for Planning David Bahati, which demonstrates the high-profile recognition the conference now enjoys.

The application of governance principles will always vary from country to country and must take account of the local culture, circumstances and economy. However, the fact that we are able to put on well-attended events at which prominent, reputable business leaders and entrepreneurs from various sectors are willing to speak is a major achievement. It shows how seriously governance is now being taken and how ICSA can help in different parts of the world.

“We are seeking to extend our reach and the availability of our qualifications through re-seller agreements”

The Associated Territories are a major area of focus for us and we are keen to highlight the importance of good governance and ensure that best practice is shared throughout the countries we represent. Partnering with dynamic, like-minded groups like IoD Zambia and the Uganda CMA means we can take our messages to wider audiences, which is why we have pursued a policy in recent years of putting on joint events. Not only are we pursuing similar goals in helping to promote good governance, we can also reinforce the important work that company secretaries do in supporting and helping to professionalise the directors who have ultimate responsibility for it.

Similarly, we are seeking to extend our reach and the availability of our qualifications through re-seller agreements that allow ICSA products and services to be sold by third parties who have a presence in countries where we do not currently have as strong a presence as we wish. Two such agreements were signed recently, one with a company in Cyprus and another with a firm of governance consultants in Chile, which will also promote our products in Argentina, Brazil, Columbia and Peru.

Other re-seller agreements have been entered into with partners in the British Virgin Islands, the Eastern Caribbean States, Jamaica, Malta, Mauritius, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, and Zambia. Partnering with organisations such as these will allow us to increase substantially the level of support we can offer to governance professionals in countries where we do not have a physical presence and will help us to enhance good governance around the world.

Simon Osborne is CEO of ICSA: The Governance Institute

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