Stories from Ngozi Onyeakusi, Lagos
African insurance operators have been enjoined to invest heavily in research and technology in order to boost insurance business within the region.
The President, African Insurance Organization AIO, Mr .Raouf Kotb who ,gave the admonition at the opening of the 41st AIO conference holding in Kigali, Rwanda stated that investing in research by the sector would help it come up with products that are most suitable for the needs of the people even as technology will assist in driving the products.
The theme of the conference: “Insurance in Africa- The Importance of Technology, Research and Development”, was apt said Kotb giving the fact that despite high achievement recorded in the area of technology globally, Africa is unfortunately being left behind and is not investing in the technology world.
He noted that countries such as South Africa spends about 0.7 per cent of its GDP on research and development compared to 2 per cent in EU, 2.8 per cent in USA and 3 per cent in Japan.
According to him, the number of researchers and engineers per 1000 of the working population is 0.7 in South Africa when compared to 4.84 per cent in Australia and 0.3 per cent in Malaysia.
The AIO president reaffirmed that in developed world there are four out of every 1000 of the working population in the EU; eight in US and nine in Japan.
He was optimistic that the trend can be reserved in Africa if the continent invest in focused research and technology developmental strategies.
This he said has potentials to bring growth to Africa’s economy, decreased unemployment levels and strengthen its competitiveness to the rest of the world.
He said this can be achieved through cooperation between government, industries and university.
He noted that with over 600 insurance companies operating in 52 markets. Africa counts for about 40 reinsurance companies made up of private state owned, sub- regional, regional and foreign companies.
He added that this number of insurance companies in Africa generates about 1.7 per cent and 1.2 per cent share of the global life and non-non-life market in 2010.
He said that despite all effort put by the insurance industry in Africa this has not changed much, adding that positive change in this figure can only be achieved through adequate research and technology