WEF Africa 2016: How reinsurance supports shared prosperity across the continent

Africa’s positive economic outlook is under pressure – mainly due to a slowdown in the global economy – with growth expected to remain just below 5% in 2016. As many countries in the region improve their investment climate and undertake macroeconomic policy reforms, inflows of foreign direct investment are expected to continue to grow, although at a slower pace.

On May 11, 2016, world leaders gather in Kigali, Rwanda to attend the World Economic Forum (WEF) summit, "Connecting Africa’s Resources through Digital Transformation". The aim of the 3-day meeting is to discuss catalysts that can drive radical structural transformation of the economy, strengthen public-private collaboration on key global and regional challenges, and agree on strategic actions that can deliver shared prosperity across the African continent.

Protecting Africa against fiscal impacts of drought and pandemics
Swiss Re has been present in Africa for more than 60 years, and we are proud to play an active role in helping communities survive and thrive by absorbing the shocks from unforeseen events. In recent years, we have provided innovative risk resilience solutions ranging from the Africa Risk Capacity (ARC) government drought-risk pool, to the soon to be launched Pandemic Emergency Facility (PEF) facilitated by the World Bank, as well as our index-based agri-solutions benefitting smallholder farmers.

Reto Schnarwiler, Head Global Partnerships, EMEA and Americas, explains that the global reinsurance sector diversifies and manages risk,  stabilising the economy, and bolstering resilience to the challenges of natural catastrophes, climate change and volatile markets.

"Unfortunately, the insurance penetration in emerging economies is still low, resulting in a massive protection gap. While emerging markets account for 86% of the global population and 40% of GDP, only 18% of the global insurance premium stems from these regions. The protection gap is particularly severe in Sub-Saharan Africa and we aim to change this."

Global reinsurance provides key mechanisms for local insurance markets to grow, by allowing local insurers to reduce and diversify their own risks, strengthen their solvency and expand their capacity to absorb different types of risks. That's why open reinsurance markets are vital - they support continued growth, development, resilience and recovery of national economies.

Catching up in Kigali?
Will you be attending WEF Africa in Kigali? Catch up with our delegation on site!

To learn more about Swiss Re's engagement in Africa, please look at some of our recent publications highlighted to the right. See also the separate story on Insuring African farmers for the next El Niño.

Follow us on @SwissRe and @SwissRe_GP, LinkedIn and the hashtags #WEF, #af16


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