Atlas Magazine July 2007

Africa and the Middle East: to be or not to be?

In line with Arab-African meetings, the Carthage Rendez-Vous held in Tunis in late June has highlighted the recurrent topics of development, regional cooperation and reinsurance capacity creation.

This meeting, however, has left us with some feelings of unease, frustration and helplessness. It is The African Reinsurer of first choice obvious to notice that Africa and the Middle East have not yet managed to mobilise their enormous economic potential efficiently enough to become influential in the world's insurance market.

In search for high performance, investments are heading toward Bermudas, India or China rather than the regions that are deemed risky.

Due to its structural economic unsteadiness and to its low population, the Middle East is far from being the insurance Eldorado. As to Africa, it has just crept out of an unprecedented economic stagnation.

In fact, the Gulf's petrodollars may be usefully invested in Africa. The Maghreb countries, at the crossroads of both regions, may stand as essential relays to direct or at least help Africa attract the capital it so desperately lacks.

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