Unforgettable night! Tanzanian finance execs turn up for groundbreaking CFO East Africa launch

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Over 60 top Tanzanian finance leaders came together at Hyatt Regency Hotel in Dar es Salaam for the much-anticipated launch of the local chapter of the CFO East Africa community. Engaging conversations were held dwelling on the agenda for an active CFO community in the country. The occasion was supported by event Principal Partner PwC.

Over 60 top Tanzanian finance leaders came together at Hyatt Regency Hotel in Dar es Salaam for the much-anticipated launch of the local chapter of the CFO East Africa community. Engaging conversations were held dwelling on the agenda for an active CFO community in the country. The occasion was supported by event Principal Partner PwC.

A significant highlight from the event were brainstorm sessions, where the CFOs discussed the current trends influencing their roles and how having a vibrant community would benefit them individually and collectively. All attendees received copies of the two editions of CFO East Africa magazine featuring engaging content such as thought-leadership articles, topical survey results and interviews with finance chiefs from Tanzania, Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda.

The event kicked off with a welcome from co-founder and community manager KC Rottok Chesaina, who provided an overview of the activities CFO East Africa has undertaken in the past seven months. He thanked the CFOs for turning up in large numbers for the summit during a traditionally busy reporting period for finance teams.

Zainab Salome Msimbe, the incoming Country Senior Partner at PwC Tanzania delivered the partner address, explaining the reasons behind the audit and advisory firm’s decision to back the community.

‘As PwC, we position ourselves as an invaluable partner for the CFOs, seeking to help them navigate these complexities with agility and foresight using our human-led tech-powered solutions. Together with the CFOs, we can redefine what it means to lead finance in the 21st century, transforming challenges into catalysts for innovation and success,’ Zainab said.

Keynote address

Group CEO of NMB Bank, Ruth Zaipuna, took to the podium as the night’s keynote speaker to deliver a well-received address.

“Having served as CFO of Standard Chartered and NMB prior to taking up my current position, I understand the CFO role quite well. While at Standard Chartered, I was part of a finance transformation project through which we revolutionised finance in the bank through three avenues namely, having a mindset shift, investing in the right skill set and mobilising resources,” Ruth said.

‘CFOs should see themselves as custodians for long term success. Finance leaders are no longer executives confined to the back office but rather key decision-makers when it comes to organisational strategy. In a fast-changing world, they should be at the forefront of making investments in technology and to do this they need to have an excellent command of digital processes. At NMB, digital transformation has led to cost and operational efficiency despite rising costs and we have moved from balance sheet management to balance sheet optimisation,’ she added.

In the panel discussion involving four CFOs, Flora Makule from Reliance admitted that insurance companies are lagging behind in digital adoption and advised CFOs in the sector to collaborate in moving the industry to the next level.  Rayson Foya of Standard Chartered stated that finance leaders need to leave their desks and collaborate through communities such as CFO East Africa where they can form vital connections that will drive the growth of their companies.

Regional community

Hilda Bujiku of Vodacom explained how the telecommunications company has positioned itself as a leader in technology company.

‘We have seen the value of investing in technology and as CFOs we need to look beyond the traditional parameters that inform our regular business cases when investing in technology. We have testimonials as to the impact of such investment. Resource allocation is a key thing for CFOs and we need to help other units within the business such as the commercial division to apply resources to areas that maximise returns,’ Hilda said.

David Muriithi of Serengeti Breweries explained that taxation and regulation have a significant impact on the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector and CFOs need to have broad engagement with stakeholders on such matters as they have a major impact on the sustainability of their businesses.

The CFOs signed a plaque in support of the formation of the CFO East Africa community which will be kept as a historical record of the first ever meeting of the regional community in Dar es Salaam. Engaging roundtable discussions were held in two groups, one chaired by KC and the other by Sungula Nkabinde of CHRO South Africa.

The formal programme concluded on a high note as the CFOs unanimously requested CFO East Africa to curate many more meetings in the country in the not-too-distant future.

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