IFC and Activa join forces to increase women’s access to insurance in Cameroon

17 Mar 2021

With advisory support from IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, Activa Assurances today launched two new insurance solutions in Cameroon, aiming to reach up to one million women by 2022.

As part of its "Activ'Lady" program, Activa is bringing two innovative solutions to the Cameroonian market to meet the needs of women. These include:​

  • A solution that allows women entrepreneurs to save money and build their own businesses. Activa will give them the necessary training, through incubators, to help them achieve their goals. It will also help women – through its own bancassurance network - to apply for loans.
  • Health coverage for low-income women, including traders commonly known as "Buyam-Sellams"  and women working in cooperatives, often disqualified from obtaining traditional coverage because of their low incomes. This will help them cope with difficulties resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and other challenges.

"Insurance encourages savings by reducing expenses in the long run. It provides effective risk management in life, and is an excellent investment channel. Without access to insurance, women often resort to informal loans to cover healthcare costs or pay for other expenses, hurting their ability to recover from setbacks," said Richard Lowe, Executive Chairman of Activa Group.

He added: "Activa is committed to impacting Cameroonian women by focusing on solutions that can address the widening protection gaps facing individuals, families, and societies. Developing inclusive insurance is an absolute emergency."

"IFC shares Activa Cameroon's commitment to empower Cameroonian women so they can increase their savings, cope with financial challenges, and at the same time grow their businesses and protect their families," said Sylvain Kakou, IFC's Country Manager for Central Africa. "Women are becoming a huge market force in the country. Increasing their participation in the economy will drive further growth and help the economy recover from the current crisis."

In October 2019, IFC and Activa International Insurance officially launched the Activ'Lady Program to increase insurance coverage for women and women in business in Cameroon. This was made possible thanks to IFC's advisory support. The Activ'Lady Program follows an IFC-led study, SheforShield, which found that by focusing on women, insurance firms can generate up to US$1.7trn globally by 2030, with 50 per cent of this opportunity coming from emerging markets.  

Through the Activ'Lady Program, Activa has been protecting women's merchandise from bad weather and theft and giving them access to online training and toolkits to help them expand their businesses.

IFC and Activa's work in Cameroon is partly funded by the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi), which invests in programs and projects that help unlock financing to address barriers facing women entrepreneurs.

Since 2016, IFC has been working with insurers across emerging markets to develop specific approaches to address the needs of women at various stages of their lives while creating income-generating opportunities for women as insurance employees, advisors, and distributors. The Activ'Lady program follows similar partnerships with insurers in Nigeria, the Philippines, and Ghana.

 

About IFC       
IFC—a member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work in more than 100 countries, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in developing countries. In the fiscal year 2020, we invested US$22bn in private companies and financial institutions in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org

About Activa

Created in 1998 by Cameroonian shareholders;

  • Vision: contribute to the development of Africa through a premier insurance group that will operate throughout the region, leveraging its client-focused organization, its teams of qualified professionals and the efficient use of technology ;
  • Values: Client focus, responsiveness, respecting engagements, innovation and flexibility ;
  • Products: Non-life and life insurance;
  • Present in nine African countries (Cameroon, Ghana, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, DRC, Côte d'Ivoire and Mauritius (headquarters of the Group holding) and in France.
  • Present in 43 African countries through the GLOBUS network, Africa's main insurance network, of which Activa Group is a founding member;
  • Our companies are among the leaders on their respective markets. ACTIVA Cameroon is the second insurance operator in the country and the leading enterprise insurance company on major projects (new bridge on the Wouri, major road construction works), as well as the leading insurance company for major international and national industrial groups (Bolloré, Brasseries du Cameroun, Bio pharma, etc.); 
  • Group Executive Chairman: Richard LOWE;
  • Partners: in addition to founding shareholders, the World Bank Group (through IFC) and the French Development Agency (AFD), through PROPARCO, have entered Activa Group's capital respectively since 2013 and 2016.

About We-Fi

The Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) is a collaborative partnership among the 14 governments that have made financial contributions, six multilateral development banks that serve as implementing partners, and other public and private stakeholders. We-Fi was formally established in October 2017 as a Financial Intermediary Fund hosted by the World Bank. We-Fi invests in programs and projects that help unlock billions of dollars in financing to address the full range of barriers facing women entrepreneurs—increasing access to finance, markets, technology, and mentoring, while strengthening policy, legal and regulatory frameworks. As one of the We-Fi Implementing Partners, IFC supports private sector clients with investment and advisory services to expand financial services and market access for women-owned/led firms, as well as increasing the capacity of women entrepreneurs to run high-growth businesses. For more information, visit www.we-fi.org.

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