Business and Economy

African Trade Insurance Agency launches regional West Africa’s office in Cotonou

Dignitaries from the Ministries of Finance, Foreign Affairs and Industry, Trade and Crafts along with the Head of the country’s Banking Association officially launched the African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI) West Africa regional office.

The office launch caps a six year relationship between ATI and Benin, the first West African country to become a shareholder, which has evolved into a valuable partnership. In 2018, the partnership culminated in ATI’s insurance support helping the government of Benin attract €610 million of financing to fund priority infrastructure projects.

ATI is a Pan-African investment and trade credit insurer, helping to de-risk Africa in order for the continent to attract more investments. Real and perceived risks have historically prevented investors from looking at Africa.

In addition, most global financial institutions that fund investors require this type of insurance before they can lend. For decades, there has been a shortage of investment insurance in Africa largely because the continent’s risk profile was deemed too risky.

With Benin leading the charge to use ATI’s insurance to make their sovereign borrowing requests more appealing to investors, the country has proven to be a trend setter. Countries across Africa are now requesting more information on this innovative financial structure and on prospective membership to ATI.

ATI’s West African hub in Cotonou is expected to underwrite business from other West African member countries, Côte d’Ivoire and impending members, Ghana and Nigeria along with selected deals in other countries.

The office launch is one of several activities taking place in Cotonou during ATI’s Annual General Meetings (AGM) from 4 – 5 July, which is being hosted by the government of Benin. During its AGM, ATI will also host its 6th Annual Investor Roundtable on 4th July followed by the company’s General Assembly on 5th July at the Golden Tulip Diplomate.

Dr. Yohannes Ayalew Birru, Chairman of ATI’s Board of Directors along with John Lentaigne, Acting CEO and Genevieve Ahinful, ATI’s Regional Underwriter for West Africa also participated.

“We’re thrilled to finally open our doors in Benin, one of the fastest growing and most vibrant countries in West Africa. We are here to be strong development partners for the country as well as other countries in West Africa that have an interest in de-risking their economies to help attract more investments,” said Genevieve Ahinful, Regional Underwriter, West Africa, ATI.

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