Ghana Asked To Fast-Track Membership Of ATI

Mr George Otieno, Chief Executive of ATIExperts in the insurance industry and private sector enterprises in Africa have called on government to fast-track Ghana’s membership into the African Trade Insurance (ATI) Agency.

The experts noted that, the country stands to gain greatly from ATI’s political risk, surety bonds, trade credit insurance, political violence and terrorism and sabotage cover if it joins the agency.

Ghana would also benefit from a 100 million dollar donation in added capacity from ATI and its membership would help companies in the country to access credit and expand its market beyond the country.

Ghana’s membership into ATI, which began in 2009, was scheduled for completion in 2012, but till now, the country had not completed successfully.

These came up yesterday in Accra at a joint press conference on “Strengthening Ghana’s economy” organised by the ATI in collaboration with the Private Enterprise Foundation, the Ghana Insurers Association and the West African Insurers Association.

The African Trade Insurance is a Pan-African organisation founded in 2001 by African governments to help attract more investments and increase trade.

With the support of international financial partners, the World Bank and the African Development Bank, ATI offers insurance products that mitigate the risks faced by investors and others doing business in Africa.

The Chief Executive Officer of ATI, George Otieno, stressed that the ATI has the unique ability to insure directly, reinsure and co-insure.

“Our main products are political risk insurance, which protects companies against illegal acts of a government that may cause them loss of property or income. In addition, this product can cover losses arising from specific acts, including political violence and terrorism,” he stressed.

According to Mr Otieno ATI was playing a central role in the reconstruction of the Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi, Kenya which was recently attacked by terrorists.

The ATI as of 2013 had supported more than 10 billion dollars in trade and investments across Africa in sectors such as agribusiness, energy, exports, housing, infrastructure, manufacturing, mining and telecommunications.

Mr. Otieno, therefore, urged the government to prioritise membership into ATI to protect businesses in the country and support Ghana’s economic growth.

Mr Kwame Gazo Agbenyadzie, President of the Ghana Insurers Association, noted that Ghana’s membership into ATI would boost investor confidence in the country and could attract foreign direct investments.
He said the insurance industry partly rely on counties outside Ghana, adding that “almost all political and investment risks are written from outside this country”.

“Ghana’s membership into ATI will help to reverse this. It will also help to develop local expertise in the underwriting and management of risks. Our economy has every potential to grow and expand in the next few years and our insurance industry must be positioned to take advantage of the local content provisions in our legislations relating to insurance by providing internationally acceptable securities,” he noted.

Nana Osei-Bonsu, Chief Executive Officer of the Private Enterprise Federation (PEF) appealed to government to use its leadership in the ECOWAS for the regional economic group to fast-track discussions to use ATI services in member countries.

He noted that the time was ripe for Ghana to join the ATI, stressing that, in the current environment of global competition, “a few steps delay gives our competitors advantage over Ghanaian businesses”.

The President of the Ghana Insurance Brokers Association, Reverend Asante Marfo-Ahenkora observed that ATI’s entry into the local market would support the growth of the insurance industry and ultimately benefit the Ghanaian insurance policy holder who would have a broader range of insurance options to choose from.

The Secretary-General and Chief Executive Officer of the West African Insurance Companies Association (WAICA), William B. Coker said since 2008, ATI had been ranked by Standard and Poor’s as the highest rated insurer in Africa with an “A/Stable” rating insurance group.   By Joseph Edu Archison      

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