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IFC to Promote Insurance for the Poor in Eastern and Southern Africa


In Kampala:
Steven Shalita
Phone:  +256-414-231-230
Email:  sshalita@worldbank.org

In Johannesburg:
Houtan Bassiri
Phone:  +27-11-731-3179
Email:  hbassiri@ifc.org


Kampala, Uganda, March 5, 2009—IFC will work with partners such as the World Bank, donors, governments, and the insurance industry to create a more favorable environment for insurance companies to offer products and services to poor Africans who previously have not had access. IFC is a member of the World Bank Group.

IFC’s Global Insurance Program Advisory Services is organizing a three-day regional workshop in Kampala from Monday on expanding access to insurance for the poor in Eastern and Southern Africa. The seminar, which will be attended by insurance companies operating in the region, will focus on developing more targeted products, alternative and more cost-effective distribution channels, and improved service delivery models to reach more Africans.

“The poor in Africa are exposed to many risks, from the death of breadwinners to ill health, extreme weather, and the potential loss of property,” said Fatou Assah, IFC Senior Financial Sector Specialist.” “Extending financial services such as insurance to people and places where they are most needed is a crucial part of IFC’s strategy in Africa.”

Participants in the workshop will hear from international insurance experts on the technical aspects of providing insurance to the poor, discuss interactive case studies, and apply new concepts to problems they encounter in their daily work.

African markets show some of the world’s lowest levels of insurance penetration, creating an ideal opportunity for insurers to develop products and services to better meet the market’s needs. Insurance companies site a need for more technical capacity, challenges with product development, difficulties with delivery channels, and regulatory hurdles as among the main challenges to expanding insurance coverage in the region.

About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group creates opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We foster sustainable economic growth in developing countries by supporting private sector development, mobilizing private capital, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. Our new investments in the insurance sector totaled 400 million while overall commitments totaled $16.2 billion in fiscal 2008. For more information, visit
www.ifc.org.