ATI launches operations in Tanzania – brings a record $40.7 million worth of investments into Tanzania in 2009
DAR ES SALAAM, 9 April, 2010 - The African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI) announced the opening of its representative office in Dar at a press conference held today at the Kempinski hotel. The opening comes at an opportune moment, when ATI recorded record growth insuring investments into Tanzania and exports valued at over $40 million. The decision to open an office in Tanzania will support the growing demand for ATI's specialised political risk insurance and export credit risk insurance products - with an estimated project pipeline valued at $80 million. Demand stems from reduced access to credit in the region and a push by governments to attract more foreign direct investment. Dr. Evans Rweikiza, Executive Director of the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation and host of ATI's office in Tanzania, Israel L. Kamuzora, the Insurance Commissioner of Tanzania and Chairman of ATI's Board, Stewart Kinloch, ATI's Acting Chief Executive and Albert Rweyemamu, ATI's Resident Underwriter in Tanzania participated in the press conference.
"New buildings, roads, telecommunications and other projects are all signs that Tanzania is growing. ATI intends to continue supporting the government in this growth by providing insurance products that will bring investors into the country and that will help local exporters to access markets in other regions," explained Mr. Kinloch, ATI's Acting CEO.
Through its local office, ATI plans to target banks, which it sees as one of the biggest potential clients that could benefit from its products. To protect the banks against loan default risks, ATI would provide insurance to the bank's lenders that would cover them in the event their buyers default on payments. In this way, the lenders could use their balance sheet as collateral for loans.
This product has been successful in markets such as Kenya, where small and medium sized enterprises have benefited from this product which has helped free-up credit in the banking sector.
"My objective in Tanzania will be to provide real solutions to business people. Our insurance effectively turns a company's risk into an asset because we reduce it to the point that it is not a factor. A company with less risk suddenly becomes much more attractive to investors, banks and other partners," commented Mr. Rweyemamu, ATI's Tanzanian Representative.
Tanzania is a founding member of ATI, helping to launch the organisation in 2001 along with seven other COMESA member countries. ATI's was created to ease the fears of investors interested in doing business in Africa. In the beginning, ATI provided political risk insurance to investors but since 2006 it also provides export credit risk insurance to African exporters. Cumulatively, ATI has insured investments into Tanzania valued at over $126 million.
ATI has been ranked as the second highest rated institution in Africa with an 'A' rating from Standard & Poor's for two consecutive years. This standing gives investors the confidence they may need to put their money into Africa, it also helps ATI to attract more insurance capacity through partnerships with international insurance heavy weights such as the Lloyds of London market, which records annual premiums of $30 billion.
ATI's Tanzania office is co-located with the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation. The office is ATI's third local office, joining offices in Uganda and Zambia. The Agency plans additional office launches in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Rwanda, and a possible regional office in West Africa by 2011. This expansion is part of a broader strategy that may see ATI generating insurance cover for investments and trade in Africa valued at over $1billion annually. The Agency plans to announce its record-breaking 2009 results at its upcoming Annual General Meeting in Kinshasa, DRC on 19 May, 2010.