The African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI) has expanded its operations to Ethiopia and Zimbabwe. The organisation which provides Political Risk, Surety Bonds, Trade Credit Insurance and Political Violence and Terrorism & Sabotage cover was founded in 2001 by African States to cover the trade and investment risks of companies doing business in Africa.
George Otieno, CEO of ATI, along with Dina Mufti, the Ethiopian Ambassador and Gabriel Negatu, Regional Director, African Development Bank, on Wednesday, at a Press Conference, announced that the agency was ready to begin covering transactions in Ethiopia and Zimbabwe.
“I believe our entry into Ethiopia and Zimbabwe, particularly at this time, sends a powerful message to investors. Our presence signals that both countries are open for business because we are standing beside them as a credible and internationally-respected insurer with an ‘A’ rating from S&P. This should be positive news to anyone interested in doing business in the either country,” Otieno noted.
ATI is expected to help Ethiopia maintain its status as one of Africa’s biggest success stories. The $66 billion economy has been expanding as much as 10.3 percent annually over recent years, according to the International Monetary Fund, with a dip to 6.5 percent last year due to drought. Ethiopia has also been successful in attracting large manufacturers such as Unilever NV, Diageo Plc and Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) and has taken the lead in export of agricultural products.
For Zimbabwe, membership in ATI would give a boost to the country’s quest to attract foreign direct investments, a statement by the agency explains.
“I have no doubt that our membership will contribute to Zimbabwe’s current efforts to reduce the cost of doing business by making political risk and credit insurance, as well as non-payment and FDI cover readily available to exporters, importers and investors,” noted Industry & Commerce Minister Mike Bimha.
He also noted that his office had been inundated with inquiries from the private sector and potential investors on how they could access ATI’s insurance services.
Also speaking, African Development Bank’s Regional Director, Gabriel Negatu said that the African Development Bank is pleased to have financed Ethiopia and Zimbabwe’s membership into ATI.
“The affiliation with ATI will attract prospective investors with additional guarantees to participate in the priority areas of powering and lighting, feeding, industrializing and integrating both countries. It will also help improve the livelihood of millions of Ethiopians and Zimbabweans,” Negatu said.