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Business News of Thursday, 7 October 2021

Source: www.sunnewsonline.com

FG task insurers to leverage AfCFTA, innovation to boost income

AfCFTA AfCFTA

The Federal Government has urged the Nigerian insurance industry to take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and technology to lift millions of Nigerians out of extreme poverty.

The move according to the Federal Government will also help to raise the income level of about 68 million people.

The Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, who disclosed this at the 47th African Insurance Organisation (AIO) Conference in Lagos, noted that the AfCFTA avails huge opportunities for the socio-economic transformation of African countries, particularly Nigeria.

Osinbajo said, “The free trade agreement presents a major opportunity for African countries. By some estimates, if we get it right, we can bring several millions out of extreme poverty and raise the incomes of 68 million others who live on less than $5.50 per day. There are potential income gains of up to $450 billion, and just cutting red tape and simplifying customs procedures alone could drive up to $250 billion of that sum.

“So, what does all this mean for the insurance industry in Africa? Well, plenty of opportunities. More trade in goods will mean a greater need for insurance services, brokers, in particular, should expect a boom; demand for trade facilitation services will rise, but obviously companies that already have market presence in other African countries, even if by collaboration, will benefit more than others,” he stated.

While expecting to see more well-capitalised insurance providers from other African countries coming to compete in the Nigerian market, he added that “services can be set up faster than manufacturing plants. Nigerian financial services companies, especially banks, are already in many African Countries, the likes of Zenith, Access, UBA. How about insurance companies? We should now be looking at developing homegrown international African insurance conglomerates. The time is now.” he said.