Global insurance agency confident in Africa’s investment opportunities

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Global insurance agency confident in Africa’s investment opportunities
Global insurance agency confident in Africa’s investment opportunities

Africa-Press – Liberia. Sub-Saharan Africa has long been an important destination for export credit insurance support, presenting greener investment opportunities.

This is according to Michal Ron, outgoing President of Berne Union, a global export credit and investment insurance industry.

Ron was speaking during the Berne Union Annual General Meeting. hosted in Kigali by the African Trade Insurance (ATI) from November 7 to 10.

It brought together more than 77 financial institutions to discuss Africa’s potential for greater intra-regional trade and integration into international value chains, the transition of Africa’s energy sector, and the role of international finance and investment in the context of debt sustainability.
She said, abundant natural resources and favourable demographics will only increase further in future; and particularly today with pressure to replace dislocated supply chains, there are huge opportunities for the continent.

“The developmental impact of increasing trade and investor confidence is well recognised, and in an African context, creating bankable projects which can attract international capital is vital to closing financing gaps for essential infrastructure,” Ron noted.

Export credit insurance is a flexible de-risking tool which can help catalyse much-needed finance from both public and private sources such as commercial banks and institutional investors.

In the first half of 2022, Berne Union members provided new commitments totalling $44 billion in support of trade and cross-border investment in Sub-Saharan African countries.

However, in the same period, the region saw coverage of political risk insurance worth $3.9 billion, the highest since 2017 –a sign of increased risk perception among investors. At the same time, long-term finance in the region is becoming more difficult to secure.

Uzziel Ndagijimana, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, noted that, “the operationalisation of Africa Continental Free Trade Area, ATI and Berne Union, will play a central role in promoting intra-African trade and also continue to increase trade flows between Africa and the World.”

Despite being a host to almost one fifth of the world population and being the most endowed continent with natural resources, Africa accounts for only 5.2 per cent of global foreign direct investment and participates in less than three percent of global trade.

However, according to Ndagijimana, potential for Africa to improve its position in global trade and investment is huge with the youngest and growing population; home to most of natural resources used in the modern industry, and being among the regions in the world with the highest rates of returns, as well as the continental trade area.

“All these positive developments in the economic landscape of Africa call for change in the negative perception of the continent in terms of investment and trade,” he highlighted.

However, the minister said that Rwanda has benefited from increased trade flows as a result of access to investment, credit, and risk solutions provided by ATI.

According to Manuel Moses, CEO of ATI, the African insurer has handled more than $140million in transactions in different projects and there are more than $100 million in the pipeline.

The target is to raise the private sector, especially SMEs’ capacity in accessing financing in terms of providing insurance and attracting investments.

Areas of partnership include hydropower plants construction, supply of different public and private equipment, exports, among others.

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