NAIROBI, May 11 (Xinhua) — Kenyan President Uh uru Kenyatta on Thursday called on African governments to strengthen insurance institutions to help support intra-Africa trade.
In a speech read on his behalf by Cabinet Secretary for National Treasury Henry Rotich at Africa Trade Insurance’s (ATI) 17th Annual General Meeting in Nairobi, Kenyatta also urged African governments to consider membership in ATI.
Kenyatta said African countries signed up to the Continental Free Trade Agreement, which aims at pushing for more significant growth of intra-Africa trade, as well as assisting African countries to benefit from trade as an engine of growth and sustainable development.
“This can only be realized when key institutions like ATI are made to function at their full potential. ATI is well positioned to facilitate both intra-regional and external trade between the continent and the outside world through its risk mitigation mechanisms that give confidence to domestic and foreign investors,” he said.
He lauded Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) block for rescinding a decision to establish another multi-lateral trade and investment insurance entity similar to ATI, and instead supporting ATI’s initiative to recruit members in West Africa whilst playing a bigger role in shaping the future of the Agency as a pan-African institution.
Ethiopian, Zimbabwe and Cote d’Ivoire joined ATI last year with support from the Africa Development Bank.
Benin recently increased their equity capital in ATI by a significant amount, thereby strengthening the capitalization of the company. African Development Bank (AfDB) is also in the process of facilitating South Sudan membership in ATI.
Kenyatta encouraged other countries especially those in West Africa that have expressed interest to join ATI to take the necessary membership steps in this direction.
“As ATI’s membership expands across the continent, ATI will be better positioned to play a key role in closing the gap in inter-regional trade and investments in Africa and facilitating more business activities between the various regions,” he said.
In 2016, ATI facilitated financing of trade and investments in Kenya valued at close to 800 million U.S. dollars which represented around 1.2 percent of Kenya’s GDP.
Similarly, in ATI’s two newest member countries, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe, the company supported 400 million dollars’ worth of trade and investment to these economies.