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Poor technology advancement blamed for
slowing Africa insurance sector growth       

KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) -- African insurance firms still lag behind in terms of digital innovation which poses a serious threat to the growth of the industry, an expert said Monday in Rwandan capital city Kigali.

Rwanda is hosting the 42nd Annual General Assembly of the Federation of African National Insurance Companies (FANAF).

The event’s theme is “The African Insurance facing Disruptions.” It has brought together more than 800 eminent personalities, insurers, re-insurers, experts and other stakeholders in Africa and beyond to discuss challenges and opportunities in the insurance sector in Africa.

There are several trends currently disrupting the insurance industry across Africa, many of which are technology-related, said Victor Ndiaye, founder of the Performances Group, a continental management consulting firm based in Senegal.

The pace of technological advancement in the insurance sector is not on the same level of evolving global technologies, Ndiaye said at the meeting.

He called on African insurance companies to focus more on embracing many of these digital innovation trends in the face of a challenging and complex digital market environment.

Some of the key trends that are disrupting insurance sector on the continent include an increased use of internet by insurance companies, the use of big data to improve claims processing, and an increasing demand on cyber insurance, experts said at the meeting.

The insurance industry on the continent is facing challenges like low levels of ICT usage and innovations, which are key enablers to insurance companies to remain relevant and competitive, Rwandan finance minister Claver Gatete said.

“All these disruptions open up a field of opportunities and challenges that must be addressed by various actors who are prepared such as private sector including the insurance actors,” the minister told the meeting.

The meeting concurred that apart from technological advancement, the disruptions in the insurance sector in Africa also emerge from different areas like urbanization trends, changes in the agricultural sector, population increase, and environmental changes.

Africa has nearly 17 percent of the world population, while only generates 1.5 percent of global insurance contracts as of a few years ago, said Rwandan President Paul Kagame when opening the meeting.

Around three-quarters of Africa’s contribution comes from South Africa, and the rest of the continent’s combined accounts for less than one-half of one percent of the world market, Kagame said.

Based in Senegal, FANAF was created in March 1976 to promote the interests of insurance sector in Africa. FANAF now has 206 member companies from 29 African countries.


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