President Kenyatta urges African States to join ATI

Nairobi:  Kenya’s President H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta has urged African governments to consider membership in the Africa Trade Insurance.

In a statement read on his behalf by the Cabinet Secretary for National Treasury Henry Rotich at ATI’s 17th Annual General Meeting held in Nairobi, the President said stronger insurance institutions were necessary to support intra-Africa trade.

“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,” the president said.

He lauded 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 and Zimbabwe and Ivory Coast 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 is also in the process of facilitation South Sudan membership in ATI.

“I wish to encourage 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,” President Kenyatta said.

In 2016, ATI facilitated financing of trade and investments in Kenya valued at close to USD800 million which represents around 1.2% of Kenya’s GDP. Similarly, in ATI’s two newest member countries, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe, the company supported USD400 million worth to trade and investment to these economies.

ATI also insured USD4 billion (KES405 billion) worth of trade and investments into its African member countries while backing strategic projects such as the USD159 million loan from the African Development Bank to support Ethiopian Airline’s fleet expansion. ATI also underwrote the first deal in a non-member country in Angola in Q-1 2017, reflecting the company’s new pan-African mandate.

“It is time for Africa as a whole and for each country individually to think big, to accomplish great things and to make great strides,” said H.E. Patrice Talon, President of the Republic of Benin who opened the AGM meeting.