2018 Review: Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and Fidelity Printers, the hosts of the 20th African Currency Forum, welcomed 300 delegates to Victoria Falls in what was a sell-out event. A number of central banks from Africa and beyond took part, along with seven of the eight member companies of the Association of African Banknote and Secure Document Printers (AABSDP). The Forum attracted 29 sponsors, which was both a record and also a sell-out.
Delegates were welcomed by the outgoing President of the AABSDP, Eng Khaled Farouk, Director of the Bank of Egypt Printing House, followed by Azvinandaa Saburi, Director, Financial Markets of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. In his welcome address, Mr Saburii provided many statistics, all pointing to a bright future for his country and indicated that we should not be surprised to see Zimbabwe’s own banknotes again in use when the time was right.
He concluded that ‘Zimbabwe is open for business’ and so the event proved, as an invaluable meeting point for specifiers and suppliers in this dynamic and fast-developing continent.
Other key topics in the first session, Global Currency Review, were a report on the Future of Cash in Africa based on a report financed by Cash Essentials and the International Currency Association, Currency Developments in China from Dr Zhou, former Governor of the Peoples Bank of China, and the Dark Mysteries of Seigniorage from Genie Foster, Director of the International Association of Currency Affairs).
Other session topics were Substrate Developments; Features and Substrates; Print – Design, Quality Control and Production; Print and Currency in Africa, Increasing Efficiency; The Cash Cycle; Circulating Coins; Currency Developments in Design & Perception; and – to conclude a panel discussion on new series in Africa. This focused on three very different scenarios – the recently-issued new Mandela bankntoes in South Africa (the first country to issue a whole commemorative series), the rebasing of the ougiya in Mauritania and a new series of notes and coins, and ‘de-dollarisation’ in Liberia, where the first issue of a new series in decades is intended to wean people off their preference for US dollars.
There were also four break-out seminars – ‘Wat is the Point of Banknote Security’, ‘Big Data and Data Management’, ‘Testing and Specifying Banknote Paper and Notes’ and ‘Counterfeit US$ – Analysis, Status & Current Trends’ which was given by US Secret Service.
The objective was to provide wide, pertinent coverage of all the main, current key aspect of the currency industry – and indications were that this was achieved due to the lively participative sessions.
The African Currency Forum is also renowned not only for its technical and educational aspects but also for its social events. These are for all delegates and allow business exchanges to still occur along with social discussions in a relaxed environment. Victoria Falls provided the perfect setting for five very varied social events that allowed the best of Zimbabwe’s natural beauty, its culture, friendliness, flora and fauna to be experienced. They included a visit to the spectacular Victoria Falls itself, an evening at the Boma (a traditional African meeting place), a sunset cruise on the River Zambezi and a gala dinner under a marquee of lights and African skies.
The next Forum in two years’ time will return to Egypt to give attendees, and in particular, African central banks and members of the AABSDP, a chance to view and study what will be Egypt’s new state-of-the art printing works and cash centre. Both will be the newest and most advanced in Africa and Egypt is keen to help other African countries advance their own capabilities by attending the Forum.
The venue and date will be announced in the near future.
The conference was very informative and the networking and familiarisation with stakeholders has been gold! Events have been spectacular, so I believe this has been a truly fruitful conference.
Perfectly organised conference! Very good opportunity to do business and networking with central banks.
Great location, good content. Great entertainment as well.
Informative. A lot of entertainment and perfect environment for networking. A convenient venue.
The event was exceptional. Great presentations and great environment. Victoria falls was a good choice for the conference, memorable events and good company. Organisation of the event exceeds all expectations.
I was really impressed by the quality of conference in Zimbabwe. Quality networking, learning content, impressive and memorable social events.
Conference was good and we could meet and interact with lots of vendors.