Press Releases

IFC Promotes Nigerian Financial Sector Development with Investment in Composite Insurance

In Johannesburg
Houtan Bassiri
Phone:  +2711 731 3179

In Washington, D.C.
Cynthia Case
Phone:  +1 (202) 473 6287

IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, announced that it will make an equity investment in Leadway Assurance Company Limited, a leading life and non-life insurance company in Nigeria.  IFC’s $14 million in equity will help support the company’s institutional building program at a key stage in its strategic development.

Insurance companies have a particularly high impact for developing economies because they help manage risk and protect against unforeseen events.  The build-up of related insurance funds also supports economic development, including job creation.  Providing sustainable, quality insurance in Nigeria will help develop a healthy and dynamic private sector and the country’s long-term capital markets.

“IFC’s investment in Leadway is our first in a composite primary insurer in Nigeria, and it signifies our belief in the country’s insurance industry and ongoing reforms in the sector,” said Thierry Tanoh, IFC’s Director for Sub-Saharan Africa.  “It is becoming increasingly important for primary insurance companies in Nigeria to reach globally competitive levels, and we expect that our investment in a key player such as Leadway will be a catalyst for such growth.”

Jyrki Koskelo, IFC’s Director for Global Financial Markets, said, “This project is in keeping with IFC’s mission of being a pioneer and proactively engaging in the development of financial markets in Sub-Saharan Africa.  This investment sends a strong message of support for operational best practice and corporate governance initiatives in the Nigerian financial sector.”

Oye Hassan-Odukale, Chief Executive Officer of Leadway Assurance Company Limited, said, “IFC’s investment is strategic to Leadway’s future as a world-class insurer, as it presents a great opportunity to take a home-grown Nigerian company to the global arena.”

Leadway Assurance Company Limited was founded in 1970 by the late Sir Hassan O. Odukale as a direct motor insurer, and it is currently Nigeria’s largest commercial insurer.   It provides a full range of both life and non-life insurance products and allied financial services through a network of 16 branches and key broker relationships across Nigeria.   Leadway has a balance sheet size of 16 billion naira ($126 million) and a shareholders’ fund value of 8.89 billion naira ($70 million) as of December 2006.

About IFC
The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, is the largest multilateral provider of financing for private enterprise in developing countries.   IFC provides financial products for private sector investments, mobilizes capital in international financial markets, facilitates trade, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides advisory services to businesses and governments.  From its founding in 1956 through FY06, IFC has committed more than $56 billion of its own funds for private sector investments in the developing world and mobilized an additional $25 billion in syndications for 3,531 companies in 140 developing countries.   With the support of funding from donors, it has also provided more than $1 billion in advisory services.  For more information, visit and