Atlas Magazine December 2009


In Africa and the Middle East, the financial crisis continues to make headlines among insurers who are failing to measure its scale and duration. The only truth for all to see is the billions of dollars locked in the Gulf countries while African insurers are desperately looking for a few thousands to survive.

In the Middle East, Dubai is now paying its excess. The current downturn may bring its real estate speculation and leisure-based boom to a halt. All insurers and reinsurers who have rushed to the Gulf are now asking too many questions. The collapse of Dubai may stand as a warning to the Emirate of Qatar which has also embarked on the frantic race to gigantism.

In Africa, the situation is quite different. With the exception of energy, the continent is unable to attract investments which it desperately needs. Yet, in modern economy, we not only need substantive financial resources but also capital flow. Not having enough shareholders' equity and deprived from cash flow, numerous African insurance companies are on the edge of bankruptcy. Africa's isolation stands as a serious impediment for its future.

In fact, the financial crisis has allowed a reshuffle of the cards.

In the Middle East, Saudi Arabia emerges as a real value. Insurance premiums are resting on a genuine market. Dubai and Qatar are submerged in a speculative mindset completely disconnected from real economy.

Africa is faced with a deteriorated economic environment, devoid of any financial resources. Besides, it is penalized by the lack of responsiveness of its insurers who fail to get profiled in the future.

Conclusion: Money is available yet, in the absence of a coherent development; African insurers do not know how to get hold of it.

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