• Mouna Kadiri: “The Africa Development Club, an advocacy on behalf of the African private sector!”

Mouna Kadiri: “The Africa Development Club, an advocacy on behalf of the African private sector!”

Announced in 2016, the Africa Development Club – a platform set up by the Moroccan banking group AttijariBank – is now operational. This initiative was undertaken as a result of the need of African and international entrepreneurs and decision-makers, who participate each year in the International Africa Development Forum, to perpetuate the meeting. The Club aims to create synergies between private sector players in the continent. It already has more than 400 members in 12 African countries, after establishing branches to seven countries: Senegal, Tunisia, the Ivory Coast, the Republic of Congo, Gabon, Cameroon and the latest, Mali, since May 11 in Bamako and run by a woman, Mouna Kadiri. Exclusive interview for ANA

Interview by Dounia Ben Mohamed


The Africa Development Club has been existing for a year and operational for a few months. You were officially appointed. Can you remind us in the origin and the concept…?

The history of the Club is closely linked to the genesis of the Africa Development Forum, and the latter to the story of AttijariBank. The group has been operating in Africa since 2004, after its first steps in Senegal and Tunisia. During the international financial crisis of 2008, the major European banking groups sold off their African subsidiaries considered as non-priority branches, which emerged as an opportunity for all. So we bought five banks in just one time, which was considered by the economists as “historical”, and which propelled us on pan-African radar, with a development model that remains the takeover. One bias: first, you take 51% of the capital; second, the banks are networked, creating synergies very quickly, so much in terms of business, information system, compliance, sharing of services … In other words, a transfer of know-how and networking

Second step: the group management also wanted to network economic commentators. The first edition of the Africa Development Forum was held in 2010 in this context. Very modestly, a bank’s job is not to organize events. As such, we were targeting 500 participants, and finally we have 1000. And from the beginning, we were surprised by the level of appetite of the economic operators as the forum is basically seeking to facilitate connections between companies and between countries, through B2B. The concept has evolved in response to requests. Between 2012 and 2016 “emerging” development plans were promoted whereby each State organizes its economic strategy precisely and tries to attract investors. From the 4th Forum, we realized that the expectations were becoming more and more demanding, so we decided to perpetuate the spirit of the eponymous Forum through the establishment of the Africa Development Club. 

In concrete terms, what does the Club do? What are its missions?

It is based on three factors: economic advocacy on behalf of the African private sector, which is captured in a white paper and reflects its recommendations provided to all African decision-makers and influent personalities to take account of them; Secondly, the connection throughout the year of all its members to the group’s banks, where, depending on the requests, we support them in specific events; and third, the provision of reliable data. Today we have federated our expertise. Access to calls for tender issued by the States and public institutions can be made available in real time, for example, with the BPI France convention which connects nearly 10,000 European economic operators, the same with our partner in Latin America and its address book of 13,000 operators. 

Launched in 2016, the Club is now operational. Where and how is it now in Africa?

There are now 400 members and seven local branches. We have aligned ourselves with the economic model of the group that connects its banks. The Club connects its local clubs in each of the countries where Attijari is operating. Our banks act as representatives of the Club. They also organize cycles of meetings to discuss current issues in the countries. For example, in the Ivory Coast, on 20 April in Abidjan, we initiated a meeting on the theme of investment opportunities in tourism. And this year we are planning to organize discovery missions to the countries.

You hardly play your role as a banking player. How are you going to reconcile your activities in countries where you introduce yourself as a development partner but where you also compete with local banking players? 

It is a progressive approach: we move forward gradually and adapt to the demand, and we have other banks in our network, we are in the sharing of know-how. We have common challenges and we will bring them together to the economic decision-makers. We can only make progress together.


Author: Dounia Ben Mohamed // Photo: Mouna Kadiri, Chairperson of the Club © DR

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