Africa’s ready to rollout economic growth booster, the African Continental Free Trade Area AfCFTA continues the upward swing at another ongoing continental forum by African Insurance Organisation in Kigali, Rwanda, where reinsurers project the optimistic future of insurance and reinsurance in the single market perfected in the AfCFTA agreement.
Welcoming delegates to the 25th African Reinsurance Forum, the AIO president, Mr. Tope Smart (pictured), said the theme of the forum, Insurance Integration in the Context of the African Continental Free Trade Area, fits into the African Insurance Pulse current edition, a research publication of the AIO which carried out an extensive study on the African Continental Free Trade Area with firm conclusions that the successful implementation of the agreement will benefit all markets.
Smart who is group managing director at NEM Insurance Plc, told attendees at the forum that got underway November 27 and to close December 1, that the reinsurance forum gives the African reinsurers another opportunity to examine some of the continent’s inherent reinsurance challenges and create solutions with the theme in mind.
Up and until now, he said the forum’ goal to encourage the exchange of business through bilateral contacts and discussions has enabled a lot of exchange of business among African industry practitioners, “but there is still much room for further deepening of the business exchanges.”
Seeing beyond the current levels of exchange, AIO president said the roll out of the AfCFTA will not be a threat to business but opens the door of optimism about the future captured in the continental trade agreement. This expectation he explained, is shared by many African reinsurers and global and regional insurers and reinsurers who 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 their risk portfolio.”
Relying on the feed from African Insurance Pulse, Smart said said it is hoped 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.”
AIO president stated that trade agreement is the smart way to reduce tariff and non-tariff barriers, free movement of people and labour, capital, right of residence, right of establishment and investment, reiterated the agreement will create the largest free trade area in the world measured by the number of countries participating.
Building on that Smart said, “The pact connects 1.3 billion people across 55 counties with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) valued at US$3.4 tr according to the African Union. It has the potential to lift 30 billion people out of extreme poverty but achieving its full potential will depend on putting in place significant policy reforms and trade facilitation measures.”