Continental Reinsurance Plc, a pan-African reinsurance company and the largest private reinsurance player outside of South Africa, is celebrating the success of its strategic growth plans to establish fully licensed subsidiaries across the African continent.
Lawrence Nazare, executive director of Continental Reinsurance, explains that the establishment of the subsidiary in Gaborone, Botswana is part of Continental Reinsurance’s strategy to have a physical presence in all key regions on the African continent. “Gaborone is our springboard into the SADC (Southern African Development Community) region,” he says.
“It is the platform from which we will enhance service delivery to our existing customers and grow revenues through better access to a regional insurance market with huge potential. We are excited about Gaborone because it is the last milestone in the execution of the strategic goal we set ourselves four years ago, to have a geographic presence in all key geo-political and economic regions on the African continent.”
Botswana is a fast-growing economy, boasting a GDP per capita of $18,825 per year as of 2015, one of the highest in Africa. It is also the highest international rated country in Africa at A- by A.M. Best.
Samuel Rimai, General Manager of Continental Reinsurance’s subsidiary in Botswana affirms the importance of having an on-the-ground presence. “Botswana’s political stability, robust economic and corporate governance culture, favourable macro-economic environment and auspicious relations with neighbouring countries make it a choice location for our southern African regional office,” says Rimai. “Proximity to our clients allows us to improve our insight into local markets, better understand their needs and local risk requirements and deliver locally relevant offerings.”
A key component of Continental Reinsurance’s strategy is to build core competences that are geared to providing relevant solutions to Africa’s insurance and reinsurance needs. In April 2015, Continental Reinsurance established a specialist subsidiary CPERS (Continental Property Engineering Risk Services) to target opportunities in construction and engineering insurance.
Governments in the SADC region are committed to bridge the infrastructure deficit through enhanced investments. The SADC Infrastructure Vision 2027 aims to scale up implementation of regional infrastructure in the short term (5 years: 2013 to 2017) by planning to spend at least US$64 billion, most notably in the transport, water and energy sectors. This commitment by Governments is complemented by ongoing and anticipated private sector investments in mining, oil and gas and real estate, a scenario that provides great opportunity for the regional insurance sector.
“Africa needs more and better infrastructure to fulfil its economic potential and direct foreign investment is a crucial enabler,” says Cassim Hansa, managing director of CPERS.
According to Hansa, foreign investors should take a more collaborative approach to business. “Greater localisation of the insurance supply chain would support the profitable development of Africa’s own sophisticated, specialist insurance capacity,” he says. “To enable this we need to reap more benefits locally, meaning a higher percentage of premiums generated in Africa should remain here.”
Continental Reinsurance now has a regional footprint comprising six regional hubs based in Nigeria (Lagos), Cameroon (Doula), Cote d’Ivoire (Abidjan), Kenya (Nairobi), Tunisia (Tunis) and now Botswana (Gaborone).