ZANZIBAR President Dr Hussein Mwinyi has called upon insurance firms to strengthen the sector in order to grab opportunities available in huge development projects.
“We need a vibrant insurance sector to protect large capital at this time when the mining industry in Africa is growing as well as increasing creativity and innovation in science and technology,” Dr Mwinyi said at the 44th Annual Organization of Eastern and Southern Africa Insurers (OESAI) held here yesterday.
He pointed out that many countries with water bodies such as Zanzibar are focusing on Blue Economy by investing in marine resources as untapped economy along with transportation, agriculture, fishing and livestock farming.
The President said in the past, Zanzibar’s economy relied on cloves and spices, but with the changes in the global economy, it is currently focusing on blue economy which he said should be backed by stronger insurance services.
Dr Mwinyi further said that, the Union government has also focused on oil and gas investment, improving airports, seaports and roads infrastructure, “These also necessitates the need for having insurance companies with improved services.”
He further said that, ongoing economic reforms and heavy investments in Africa are being hampered by many challenges, including lack of financial resources, urging the insurance sector to improve its services to enable countries to attain their economic goals.
The President further said that, African countries were facing difficulties in implementing huge projects due to lack of funds a challenge he said, requires strong funders in the continent such as insurance firms .
“Good and reliable insurance services in OESAI member countries is one of the basic factors considered by investors when they make decisions to invest in development projects,” he said.
The President encouraged insurance organizations and companies in Africa to be creative and willing to invest in development projects in their respective countries instead of focusing only on provision of insurance services.
Dr Mwinyi said that in developed countries, insurance companies, social security schemes and other financial institutions have played a major role in obtaining funds and capital to implement development projects as well as promote employment.
He advised insurance firms to consider moving to such level.
Dr Mwinyi urged financial institutions and insurance companies to be creative by finding ways of generating more money and stop the traditional way of keeping the funds without investing them.
“It is high time you learn from developed countries how you can engage and use the money you have, in development projects, and also support various groups of entrepreneurs, farmers, fishermen, and livestock keepers among others in rural areas,” Mwinyi said.
He further said that, insurance services are important in the implementation of the objectives of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which was established to promote business and entrepreneurial activities in Africa.
“Therefore circulation of traders, products, and services across borders, regional and international in Africa, requires strong insurance services.”
Zanzibar’s Minister of State- Finance and Economy Dr Saada Mkuya Salum said in the meeting that participants will have the opportunity to discuss problems facing the insurance sector in Africa.
Tanzania Insurance Regulatory Authority (TIRA) Commissioner Dr Baghayo Abdalla Saqware said the insurance sector is crucial in promoting the growth of the national economy by increasing liquidity of financial resources.
Dr Saqware said the regulator was positioned to facilitate market supervision procedures and the provision of insurance services in the country to all investors.
“We seek to attract and increase investment that will offer solutions to risks in agriculture, fishing and livestock sectors. In addition, we have a specific plan to increase life insurance and health insurance for all,” he stressed.
The 44th OESAI conference drew about 350 participants from 30 countries across the world.