Connecting Africa, CNN International’s beam on Africa anchored by Eleni Giokos meets the business leaders working to connect the continent. In Lagos, Giokos meets Lawrence Nazare, (pictured) the group managing director of Continental Reinsurance, he not only serves the reinsurance menu but the challenges Africans have connecting trade and services and solution inherent in Africa Continental Free Trade Area.
Narare explains how reinsurance works, “Reinsurance in a nutshell, is really insurance, for insurance companies. It is really the second level of insurance after the insurance company insures its direct client. The reinsurer takes whatever risk the insurance company cannot cover under its own balance sheet.”
On intra-African trade he sees challenges posed by the size of the continent and how Covid through digital embrace is taking on the big hurdle without travelling. He comments, “Africa is a huge continent. So just the distances, I think makes it a daunting task. Traveling in Africa, when I started traveling was not easy, connectivity in Africa is not easy. So making sure that you are there on the ground, and interacting with your teams can be difficult. It’s proving to be a lot easier now post COVID doing it digitally, but at one point, we had to be physically traveling.”
Nazare also says that fragmented regulatory framework across the continent has proved to be a barrier to trade. He hopes that the African Continental Free Trade Area will solve this problem, “I see the Africa Continental Free Trade Area as an absolute imperative. I think for our business, it’s very exciting because of the promises that you’re seeing. One of which primarily is a promise of a level playing field, a modernised regulatory framework, no barriers to trade, free movement, free movement of labour, absolutely important.”
Nazare is hopeful for the future of business and trade across Africa, “I think the script for Africa’s future success story must be written by great African businesses. Those great African businesses must be allowed to spread their wings, take advantages of opportunities across the continent. We are on a fairly steep growth trajectory in Africa, boundless opportunities, but I believe we must create an environment that allows those enterprises to grow and thrive.”
This month’s programme also visits Ghana for a meeting of the Africa Economic Zones Organization, in Egypt energy and infrastructure giant Elsewedy Electric talk about their plans for a better-connected continent, and in South Africa Giokos explores South Africa’s wine industry.