By Lewis S Teh
The African Corporate Governance Network (ACGN) in collaboration with Africabio Executive Roundtable and the Women on-board Network of Liberia has held a one-day roundtable stakeholders workshop for the formation of an institute of directors in Liberia.
The Chair of ACGN and president of the Ghana Institute of Directors Mr. Rockson Dogbegah, says ACGN is a collaborative African network of directors established in 2013 to promote effective corporate governance on the continent.
He says the mission of the ACGN is to develop capacity of its members and stakeholders for the advancement of corporate governance practices, adding that the network aims to facilitate member countries across Africa.
“Our target for 2022 is to be able to create five public governance institutions on the continent”, he adds.
Also making special remarks, Central Bank of Liberia Executive Governor J. Aloysius Tarlue, Jr. notes the workshop was taking place at the time when corporate institutions are challenged in handling corporate governance issues.
We all are aware of the failure of many corporate bodies around the world in advanced economies, we are reminded about the financial crisis in 2007 which imposed costs due to corporate governance failures in the global financial system”, Governor Tarlue reminds the participants.
He says the establishment of the institute of directors means a lot to Liberia, as governance is a serious issue.
He underscores that it is important that participants take stock of international experiences to safeguard the economy against unscrupulous individuals and managers whose actions, he says might cause significant financial and economic losses to the impact of corporate governance failures on the national economy.
Governor Tarlue continues that strong corporate governance structure and behavior are indispensable requirements for building strong private and public sector institutions, including a strong and viable economy.
At the same time the board chair of the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) Mr. Monie Captan, stresses the need to have a viable corporate governance structure in Liberia.
He says corporate governance in the country is challenged by views that the benefits of the public sector should first and foremost ignore the benefits of the incumbent administration and its supporters.
According to him, directors are expected to ensure that such benefits include administration supporters or else, they may stand accused of not working in the interest of the administration or the ruling party.
“Hence the loyalty of the director tend to be directed to the appointing authority rather than the corporation”, Mr. Captan points out.
The ACGN was formed to develop institutional capacities of its members to enhance effective corporate governance practice towards building better private and public sector organizations and corporate citizens in Africa.
The ACGN is holding the workshop at the time when Liberia is set to become the twentieth IOD country. The roundtable was held in collaboration with Africabio Enterprise Inc, and Women on-board Network or WOBNL.
Africabio Enterprise Inc. established the executive roundtable in 2015 as an avenue for private sector corporate executives to openly discuss the environment for business operations and leadership development in Liberia, while the Women on-board Network or WOBNL was founded in March with support from the Liberia Chambers of Commerce and the International Finance Corporation to promote gender-diversity and good governance across Liberia’s public and private sectors.
Meanwhile, at the end of the workshop, the leadership of ACGN appointed a seven-member leadership to steer the affairs of IOD here.
Making brief remarks following the appointment, the head of the interim leadership and Chief Executive Officer of Africabio Enterprise Ms. Candace Eastman expressed profound gratitude to the ACGN leadership for the confidence reposed in them.
Based on the commitment I saw from this roundtable, I’m confident that we are ready to solve corporate governance issues, and conduct the business of the organization”, she says.
The one-day roundtable took place at Manba Point Hotel and brought together key stakeholders, including officials of the Liberian government, the president of the Liberia Business Association, president of the Liberia Chambers of Commerce and donor partners, among others. Editing by Jonathan Browne