Invest more in training risk management experts

Tuesday, February 18th, 2020 06:34 |

By Caroline Gathii       

Risk management is a developing discipline globally and more so in the developed economies.

In business, it was first embraced by the insurance industry but this has grown rapidly to other sectors and it is now a common factor for consideration whether doing business in the private or the public sector. 

In the developed economies, there are risk professionals who are trained to different levels.

There are risk management Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, as well as Certified programmes training professionals in areas of risk management. These risk professionals join the industry and are able to identify risks and craft strategies to mitigate risks.

In Kenya the risk professional is evolving too. The discipline is more mature in the finance sector in Kenya as well as big corporates with international affiliation.

The finance sector governed by the Central Bank of Kenya have to comply with the prudential guidelines. The guidelines have clear requirements on the set up and functioning of the risk management.

It stipulates that the board has overall responsibility for the bank including approving and overseeing the implementation of the bank’s strategic objectives, risk strategy, corporate governance and corporate values. The finance institutions have separate risk departments in charge of managing risks.

The Public Finance Management Act Section 73 (3) mandates the Internal Auditor General’s Department to ensure that its arrangements for conducting internal audit include conducting risk based, value for money and systems audit aimed at strengthening the internal control mechanism that could have an impact on achievements of the strategic objectives of the entity. The public sector is catching up with risk management practices by setting up risk departments and training staff in risk matters.  

Unlike in the West, the risks professionals in Kenya are mainly drawn from the audit and finance departments, who are gradually converting into the risk professionals.

Through training and certification by international bodies like the Institute of Risk Management, Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control, Certified in the Governance of Enterprise IT or the PECB amongst other bodies, the numbers or risk professionals in growing in the country.

In Kenya, we have short courses that are addressing this gap in risk management. In the long run, however, the country should manage to produce risk professionals from the universities to cater for the evolving need in risk management.   

The evolution of the risk profession is not unique; the procurement profession has evolved over the years from the finance department. We currently have the Kenya Institute of Supplies Management (KISM) which was set up to regulate the procurement professionals.

The Supplies Practitioners Management Act, 2007 mandates KISM to provide practicing licenses to both individuals and forms for those who have completed an approved course of study. Once they are licensed the individuals and firms are allowed to practice. 

As the risk profession evolves, the purpose is to have risk professionals who will be trained in the locally to provide their expertise in Kenya. The professionals will assist in the emerging risks like cyber risks, climate change and genetic engineering.  

According to the 2018, Africa Cyber Security Report, Kenya published by Serianu titled Cyber Security Skills Gap,  “Kenya, not only has a shortage of highly technical skilled people, but also an even more desperate shortage of technicians who can design, secure systems, write safe computer code, and create the ever more sophisticated tools needed to anticipate, detect, respond and contain cyber threats.”

This means we need to invest more in our education system to produce professionals that would be deployed in the various sectors to deal with risk management. 

As risk management gains ground and importance, the institutions in Kenya should evolve by creating professionals to provide these services to the various sectors of the economy. These professionals will be important in the delivery of the risk advisory services in the country.

— The writer is an International Certified Risk Expert with First Idea Consulting Limited — [email protected]

More on News