South Africa has long held the promise of being the driving force behind Africa’s economic resurgence. However, geopolitical shifts and the impact this has on the global economy, as well as South Africa’s economic strain resulting from political instability and an imminent ratings downgrade, have called into question not only global sentiment about Africa’s growth trajectory, but also the potential for South Africa to be the gateway to the continent.
Earlier this year, Barclays announced its exit from the African continent to focus more on its USA and UK markets. This represents one of the biggest disinvestments from SA since the 1980’s. Maria Ramos, CEO of Barclays Africa Group, described the move as a defining moment for Barclays Africa, and a significant opportunity to determine our own destiny. Nevertheless, with SA banks being downgraded to non-investment grade to fall in line with our country rating, the potential negative impact on the financial services sector, as well as the broader regional economy, remains very high.
Join us as we hear from Maria Ramos who, in addition to her role at Barclays Africa, has extensive experience working within government at both National Treasury and Transnet. With this insight and her experience on the Executive Committee of the WEF’s International Business Council, Maria is well placed to share her thoughts on navigating the uncertainties created by our current political and economic climate.
About Maria Ramos
Maria is the CEO of Barclays Africa Group Limited. Prior to joining ABSA as Group Chief Executive in March 2009, she was the Group Chief Executive of Transnet and Director-General of the National Treasury for seven years. She has in the past served as a non-executive and independent director on the boards of Sanlam Ltd, Remgro Ltd and SABMiller PLC, and currently serves on the Board of Richmont SA. She is the current Chairman of the Banking Association of South Africa, and a member of the Executive Committee of the World Economic Forum’s International Business Council. She has successively been ranked in Fortune magazine’s annual survey of the 50 most powerful women in business for a number of years, having most recently been ranked 11th in the EMEA Region for 2015. Her contribution has been recognized through numerous awards, including being named CNBC Africa Woman Leader of the Year (2011), and was awarded the Wits Business School’s Management Excellence Award (2010).