Since its inception 9 years ago, ACBF-sponsored Master’s Degree in Banking and Finance (MBF), from the Centre Africain d’Études Supérieures en Gestion (CESAG) in Dakar, Senegal, has produced more than 325 graduates who have gone to secure key positions in the continent’s financial and banking sector, helping Africa to rely more on homegrown banking and financial specialists than on external and western expertise.
Wilfried Tamegnon, a CESAG alumni currently working as an investment officer in the Dakar Office of the International Financial Corporation said that the MBF had allowed him to play a key role in building financial markets in West Africa. He says that, two years after graduating, he joined the Regional Council for Public Savings and Financial Markets (CREPMF), the regulatory body of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU). “There I first led, on behalf of CREPMF, the development project of the regional financial market co-financed by the World Bank, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and the French Development Agency (AFD). Later, I was promoted to senior manager of financial operations and regulation. In this capacity, I was responsible for all financial market operations in the 8 countries of the WAEMU.”
Recognizing the importance of the MBF, Tamegnon decided to use his knowledge and skills not only for personal growth and advancement but also to help others build their skills and capacity in the fields of banking and finance. “I have remained attached to the program, doing my best to teach a module and invite international speakers to come and lecture the various classes,” he says. “I have also helped many to fit into their professional life. This is what most of the program’s alumni also do. I am sure that they will continue to support this wonderful training program.”
For Venantio D. Wilson, another MBF graduate and currently a Regional Sales and Business Development Manager for west and central Africa at Arcelor Mittal, the program has helped him make an impact in the private sector, in the fields of metals sales. The program allowed him to be propelled “to a higher level in the profession, giving me a more upstream vision of the world of the steel industry, opening the doors of trading to me,” he says. “My role was not only to conclude contracts directly with customers, but also to serve quotations to international traders in metallurgical products on behalf of Arcelor factories based around the world.”
Even following the loss of his job owing to a restructuring of then Arcelor, the skills acquired during his MBF years proved very useful. “I responded with my own start-up of international trading,” he says. “I used my relationships acquired on the international market of metallurgical products as sources to target niches of West Africa’s market of metallurgical products, namely mining companies and those that use construction steel with high added value.”
Back now at Arcelor Mittal after spending a couple of years running his practice, Wilson still relies on his skills gained during his MBF years. “I am in charge of the development of export sales of ArcelorMittal’s products to West and Central Africa. The MBF training was a real catalyst in my professional growth.”