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Chuks Udo Okonta
The President, African Insurance Organisation (AIO), Tope Smart, has appealed to different insurance markets across Africa, to scale up their advocacy initiative by collaborating with various organs of government to advance the course of Insurance which will lead to increased penetration.
He also expressed optimism that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) could play a significant role in improving insurance services through liberalisation and integration across African continent.
Speaking ahead of the upcoming 48th AIO conference in Kenya next month, Smart, who is also the Group Managing Director/CEO, NEM Insurance Plc, stated that, AfCFTA is set to become the world’s largest free trade area in respect of the numbers of participating countries, which, he said, would aid insurance penetration across Africa.
To him, “we believe that the AfCFTA could play a significant role in improving insurance services through liberalisation (eliminating non- tariff barriers and refraining from introducing new ones) and integration. The AIO shall advocate for integration of the African insurance industry in the AfCFTA implementation.”
With governments increasingly using insurance to achieve public policy objectives, he noted that, the AIO, through its advocacy role, shall seek to advance the policy interests of Africa’s insurance industry, to create a conducive and enabling environment for insurance in Africa to thrive.
As AIO clocks 50 years, he said, the African insurance industry still suffers from very low insurance penetration rates, when compared to global rates, with an average of less than two per cent, aside South Africa.
‘This on one hand shows the weaknesses of our industry and on the other the vast potential yet to be exploited,’ he pointed out.
To him, “according to a 2018 Lloyd’s publication, even a one per cent increase in insurance penetration will reduce the disaster recovery burden on developing countries by 22 per cent. We believe it is our mission to improve insurance penetration via solutions that improve access to insurance, the reputation of the African insurance industry and insurance awareness in Africa.”