African Insurers meet in Rwanda, deepen discussion on AfCFTA

African insurers are meeting in Kigali, the capital City of Rwanda for the 25th African Reinsurance Organisation with a focus on how to make the Continents industry tap from the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement which is expected will remove tariffs and liberalise trade.

On behalf of the African Insurance Organisation, I wish to heartily welcome you all to the 25th African Reinsurance Forum holding here in Kigali, capital city of Rwanda, the “land of a thousand hills”. The record hospitality of Rwanda makes it always a memorable moment being here. The last time the AIO members converged here in Rwanda was in 2014 for their Annual Conference and General Assembly.

The AIO will like to use this opportunity to thank the Government and people of Rwanda, for accepting to host our 25th African Reinsurance Forum in the heart of very challenging times. This event could not hold last year due to the ravaging effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. The uncertainty even followed us into 2021 but we are happy the government of Rwanda gave us this opportunity to showcase another of our flagship events.

Just two months back, the AIO brought together African Insurance professionals at its 47th Annual Conference which took place in Lagos, Nigeria to reflect on Rebuilding Africa’s Economy: An Insurance perspective.

One of the instruments of ensuring a healthy, resilient, and robust economy for Africa no doubts remains the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.

The theme of the Conference is ‘Insurance Integration in the Context of the African Continental Free Trade Area.’

Read also: Transport and Tourism Summit: AfCFTA will create new opportunities for stakeholders —Onung, FTAN president

Tope Smart, president of the African Insurance Organisation (AIO), organisers of the conference said the association is happy to return to the birthplace of the African Continental Free Trade Area, Kigali, to examine not only how the insurance sector can best integrate into the AfCFTA, but to also provide a conducive venue for the cream of the African insurance industry to reflect on the way forward.

Through this event, the AIO further wishes to highlight the contribution of the African insurance industry to the realisation of this lofty idea, whose benefits to the entire African continent cannot be overemphasized, Smart said.

He said the AfCFTA agreement will create the largest free trade area in the world measured by the number of countries participating, stating the policy emphasizes the reduction of tariffs and non-tariff barriers, and the facilitation of free movement of people and labor, capital, right of residence, right of establishment and investment.

“In September this year, the Africa Insurance Pulse, a research publication of the AIO, carried out an extensive study on the African Continental Free Trade Agreement. In the findings, insurance executives interviewed hope that in the long term the successful implementation of AfCFTA will benefit all markets. In the short to medium term, however, they expect that the large markets such as South Africa, Morocco, and Kenya will benefit most. When asked which insurance players will be the «winners», the clear answer with 46 percent is the African regional insurance/reinsurance players such as Africa Re, CICA Re, Sanlam and Santam. According to the executives, they have a better starting position than all other players because they already have a well-established and tested distribution network across several countries, which will be reinforced with the single market approach.”

According to him, insurance and reinsurance players that participated in the survey were optimistic about their future in the context of the AfCFTA. 75 percent do not believe the single market will become a threat to their business. Many reinsurers and global and regional insurers confirmed that they already operate under the logic of a single market. Many believe that the insurance pie will grow with the single market, facilitating the expansion beyond their current reach of active markets. Reinsurers that are active primarily in one or a few markets see this as a unique opportunity to diversify their risk portfolio. To get prepared, two-thirds of interview partners stated that they already reflected the impact of AfCFTA into their strategic planning, while the remaining group is waiting to gain more information on the impact of the free trade on them.”

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