No Shortcut to Compliance: Key insights from the "Why Compliance Matters in Africa" webinar.


85% of compliance professionals polled said they worry about the repercussions of non-compliance. And with good reason. Complying with legal and regulatory requirements is not optional, so every business had best find a way to ensure it tracks its obligations and any changes that may happen.


This was one of the key messages in the "Why Compliance Matters in Africa" webinar, jointly organized by Afriwise and CURA Software. The webinar brought together industry leaders and compliance professionals to delve into the crucial topic of compliance in the African business landscape. The webinar covered a wide range of topics, from understanding the regulatory landscape to implementing effective compliance programs and leveraging technology.


Compliance Webinar - Panellists


Understanding the regulatory landscape in Africa

"Compliance is like a fire alarm... if you don't maintain it, it is useless," emphasized Steven De Backer, CEO of Afriwise, highlighting the importance of keeping up with regulatory changes. The webinar set the scene by providing a comprehensive overview of the regulatory landscape in Africa, emphasizing the need to stay informed about upcoming developments. Attendees discovered the dynamic nature of compliance in Africa, with De Backer sharing that Afriwise has recorded 27 developments across 20 countries in the field of electronic conduct and data protection alone since the start of 2023. The Afriwise team is currently monitoring 39 proposed bills and regulations in the same field.



The three lines of defense of an effective compliance program

Rianné Potgieter, CEO of the Compliance Institute Southern Africa, shared her expertise on best practice in compliance and risk management. She stressed the importance of compliance being integral at all levels and across all lines of defense within a company, emphasizing the crucial role of compliance at the operational level. She detailed the concept of the "three lines of defense" in risk management and highlighted the need for separation between the legal and compliance departments in organizations. "Do not place your compliance department in your legal department. They do not have the same functions," Potgieter advised.



Making sure compliance is adapted to your business

Keri Hattingh, legal compliance officer at the Clicks Group, shared her invaluable insights on securing compliance within an organization. Hattingh stressed the importance of tailoring compliance solutions to the specific business and adapting them as the business evolves. "When it comes to compliance, there is no one-size-fits-all approach," Hattingh emphasized. She said she believes that building relationships and being present within the organization are crucial to the success of compliance. Hattingh reminded attendees, "Systems cannot do everything."



Technology as a link between data, process and people

Alex Roberts, director at CURA Software, provided expert advice on leveraging compliance technology. He emphasized the vital role of technology as the link between data, processes, and people in compliance. Roberts acknowledged the importance of identifying compliance champions within the organization. "Without them, it's likely that nothing will get done," he warned. Awareness and understanding of compliance requirements throughout the business were also stressed. "There must be awareness in the business of what you need to comply with and what the risks of non-compliance are, such as fines," Roberts advised.


Poll results indicate that there is still work to be done on compliance technology adoption. With only 22% of attendees reporting the use of software systems for compliance management, it highlights an opportunity for organizations to explore and implement technology solutions that can streamline their compliance processes. Compliance technology can provide a clearer picture of governance, risk, and compliance across the organization, leading to better decision-making and risk management.


Worries about the repercussions of non-compliance

Furthermore, a significant majority of 85% of attendees expressed worry about the repercussions of non-compliance. This emphasizes the growing recognition of the importance of compliance and the potential risks associated with non-compliance. It serves as a wake-up call for businesses operating in Africa to prioritize compliance and allocate resources to ensure adherence to regulatory requirements.



Compliance as a solid foundation for business growth

The "Why Compliance Matters in Africa" webinar organized by Afriwise and CURA Software offered invaluable insights into the field of compliance in Africa. The webinar served as a reminder that compliance is not a one-time effort but an ongoing commitment that requires continuous monitoring, adaptation, and investment. Businesses operating in Africa must stay abreast of regulatory changes, tailor compliance solutions to their specific needs, and cultivate a culture of compliance at all levels of the organization.



By embracing compliance as a strategic imperative, organizations can mitigate risks, protect their reputation, and secure their long-term success in Africa's business landscape. Compliance is not just about ticking boxes; it is about creating a solid foundation for ethical conduct, responsible business practices, and sustainable growth.




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