The Commissioner for Insurance, Mr Sunday Thomas, has urged African leaders to create an enabling environment for insurers to play more relevant roles in the continent’s free trade zone.
Thomas spoke during the investiture of the Managing Director, Nem Insurance Plc, Mr Tope Smart, as the 23rd president of the African Insurance Organisation in Lagos.
He said the signing of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement provided an avenue to foster unity and integration within the African continent.
He said it provided an avenue for the achievement of a common market for goods and services, guaranteeing free movement of human resources, investment and technology.
“But let me charge the new leadership of the AIO to cap it by vigorously persuading the governments across the continent to play their roles in providing the necessary support, creating an enabling environment for insurance activities to flourish, continued lifting of border barriers, making movement of resources almost impossible, promote healthy competition among member states and promoting knowledge sharing across the continent, among other objectives that will make insurance business thrive within the African markets,” Thomas said.
He said the journey ahead of the new AIO president might not be all smooth, especially due to the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and the shapes of the economies across Africa presently.
The commissioner said, “There is a huge task ahead of you and your team, but working with you over the years gives me high confidence that you are equal to the task, and I can vouch for your hard work, resilience, foresight and determination.
“I am sure we are all going to be proud of your tenure in the AIO. We will give the organisation the necessary support it requires as we have always done and in return we expect that Nigeria as a member is going to reap all benefits of its membership in the organisation in line with the new strategic objectives of the AIO.”
According to Thomas, the African insurance market was in dare need of serious collaboration and synergy now than in other times in the past as they rightly agreed that they must look inward if truly they wanted to make an impact.
“Time has passed that we rely on foreign or international support from the West and other superpowers as the world at large is overwhelmed by so many issues,” he said.
He said developing the insurance markets across Africa was no longer a choice but a necessity.