President Muhammadu Buhari has acknowledged the importance of insurance sector in the growth of the national economy, as he challenged the insurers to imbibe the global best practices in the insurance sector.
The President declaring (virtually) open the 47th African Organization Conference and Annual General Assembly in Lagos, said insurers should take advantage of the diversification to grow the non-oil sector through innovation. He commended their role in encouraging medical practitioners to tackle the spread of Covid 19 pandemic.
Buhari said the theme of the conference, “Rebuilding Africa’s Economy: An Insurance Perspective”, was apt and well thought out to respond to the reality of the moment as many governments try to devise ingenious ways to manage their economy in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The pandemic has indeed changed many perspectives that have forced leaders across the globe to think hard for remedies.
“I want to assure you that we in Nigeria are doing everything humanly possible to ensure coordinated approach to the pandemic and reaching out to other African leaders on possible best options to fully revive the African economy in which I strongly believe the Insurance industry has a vital role to play,’’ he added.
The President noted that the COVID-19 pandemic presented a global challenge which led to lockdown of many countries, travel restrictions, and issuance of many health protocols, affecting all human, social and economic interactions that made hosting of the Conference impossible in 2020.
“COVID-19 is still a serious challenge in many countries across the globe. However, adequate protocols have been put in place to curb its spread and vaccination is in progress.
“We understand as a government and nation the need to frontally tackle some of the disruptions to our social, economic and health occasioned by the pandemic by putting in place sufficient measures that allow the system to function.
“I once again use this opportunity to commend the Nigerian Insurance industry for identifying with the government through the provision of life insurance set of packages for frontline medical and paramedical personnel in the course of this fight. Your support and solidarity in these times are highly appreciated,’’ he added.
President Buhari thanked the Organizing Committee for successfully putting the conference together, adding that the subtopics listed for discussions were germane and critical in helping Nigeria and Africa rebuild.
“We are aware that the AIO’s Conference and Annual General Meeting is rotated amongst member states in order to provide a forum for exchange of information and strategies on market development while promoting regional knowledge and integration.
“We received the news of the decision of the Executive Committee of the AIO granting Nigeria the hosting rights of this 47th edition of the AIO Conference with pleasure. As a country, we are confident in our ability to deliver the best conference ever in year 2020 before the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic,’’ President Buhari affirmed.
In her remarks, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, said the foresight of the founders of the AIO deserved commendation as it had fostered African integration agenda and how best to collectively address shortcomings.
The Minister urged the Insurance sector to design their products around the needs of society, especially for low income earners, noting that greater impact on development would only be possible by looking at the African peculiarity.
The President of AIO, Mrs Delphine Traore, who is also the Chief Operations Officer, Alliance Africa, said the conference was last held in Nigeria in year 2000, assuring that innovation in the sector would help in complementing government efforts in development.