African retirement

Representatives of the retirement industry from various African countries recently met in Durban to discuss collaborations, sustainability and the growth of the industry.

The Government Pensions Administration Agency was among those that participated in the 2016 Institute of Retirement Funds Africa (IRFA) Conference, which took place under the theme “Navigating the future”.

The IRFA is a body that attempts to bring the retirement industry together to share best practices, discuss challenges

and chart a way forward on how players in both the public and private sectors can work together to improve efficiency and innovation Delegates at the 2016 conference represented both the private and public sectors.

Representatives from Zimbabwe, Ghana and Uganda shared their views in a conversation themed “An African Perspective:

The Role of Pension Savings Within the Social Security System”.

They all emphasised that they were constantly reviewing their fund laws and policies to be in line with modern needs and challenges.

The challenges facing retirement funds are similar in both the public and private sectors in countries across the continent.

Miriam Musaali from Uganda received the biggest applause when she lamented the fact that the legal frameworks in many countries on the continent did not help the growth and sustainability prospects of pension funds.

“In Uganda, our fund cannot invest beyond West Africa. In Ghana, they cannot invest outside the country, let alone the region.

The Johannesburg Securities Exchange (JSE) is a celebrated market and is doing well. Why can’t my fund invest in the JSE?”

Musaali asked. The conference also focused on administration efficiency and innovation.

Aspects such as member education and communication; unclaimed pension benefits; as well as data management were discussed thoroughly as some of the main weaknesses among many funds.

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