The financial sectors of African LICs are still at an early stage of development so that lessons from the crisis could inform their financial sector development strategies. They have the advantage of latecomers. Moreover, their financial sectors, while generally still shallow, are experiencing fairly rapid growth. Combined with African countries’ existing vulnerabilities, such as limited regulatory capacity, and vulnerability to external shocks, this might pose risks to financial system stability. Despite the infrequent appearance of systemic banking crisis on the African continent over the past decade (see below), fast credit growth in many economies—even if at comparatively low levels—calls for caution, signalling the need for strong, as well as countercyclical, regulation of African financial systems. For policy-makers and researchers this poses the challenge of applying the lessons from the crisis in developed and previously in emerging countries to African LICs, while paying careful attention to the specific features of African financial systems.
Stephany Griffith-Jones with Ewa Karwowski and Florence Dafe