A Working Group of Berne Union members with a regional focus on Sub-Saharan Africa was active from 2021 to 2022. Its focus was on the region as is one of the pillars of the 2021-2022 presidential platform and generated much interest from the membership.
The Working Group was guided by the objectives adopted by the Management Committee, while its scope was driven by both African Members’ interests, as well as the Africa-related interests of non- African institutions.
"Africa has huge growth potential and African Members are very important to the Berne Union. It is encouraging to see how African Members are teaming up to share their expertise in the Continent for the benefit of the entire Berne Union community, thus further enhancing trade within the African region"
Michal Ron, President of the Berne Union from 2021-2022
The main goal of the Sub-Saharan Africa Working Group was to increase general interest in the continent, including communicating challenges and opportunities as well as risk mitigators. Among the defined objectives were:
- Increase collaboration, information gathering and knowledge sharing between the Berne Union members operating in Africa
- Regularly communicate the macro-economic situation including GDP forecasts, general trends, with a special focus on sustainability
- Address the access to and lack of readily available balance sheet level information of local companies including the use of third-party information, information sharing and validation among BU members
- Coordinate with and learn from BU private members and re-insurers on how to increase the volume of operations in the region
- Focus on impediments faced by the SME segment including domestic finance challenges for local exporters
- Review how the pandemic has affected the region and identify good investment opportunities
The main deliverables of the 2021 were:
- Two designated webinars for all interested Berne Union members on (1) Potentials and Barriers for SME Financing in Sub-Saharan Africa and (2) Sovereign debt restructuring & Future sustainable investment in Sub-Saharan Africa
- Relevant articles to the Bulletin, including a special Africa focused Bulletin in July
- Ad hoc sessions at regular Berne Union general meetings
- Ad hoc deal announcements, thought pieces, general library of information on BU website
- Use of outside organisations and speakers for content delivery
The main deliverables of the 2022 were:
- Two webinars on the topical subjects that are of high interest for the BU Members;
- Workshop during the Berne Union AGM week in Rwanda in November;
- Research paper on tailor-made products for Sub-Saharan Africa region. Member survey and detailed research is planned;
- In parallel to above-mentioned projects, Working Group members will provide content for BU publications.
The diversity of the region and the enormous potential in terms of future growth allow for a deep investigation as to what it means to do business in Sub-Saharan Africa today. It is notable that many countries in the regions are both exporters and recipients of export credit.
“Africa has shown considerable resilience in weathering past crises, from the 2008 global financial crisis to the commodity price collapse of 2014- 2016. The present pandemic provides the continent with another opportunity to further enhance its ability to navigate shocks, build strong health systems and accumulate fiscal buffers to meet future challenges.” For the full leader by Tusekile Kibonde and Kefa Muga, ATI, as well as for other articles in the Series, please click on the tab:
Sub-Saharan Africa Working Group Series
Click for all publications and articles from the Working Group
The Working Group consisted of the Berne Union Members that were based and operating in Africa as well as those with extensive experience in doing business in Africa. The Working Group also welcomed contributions from the wider Berne Union membership with an interest in the region.
Chair of the Working Group
Resident Underwriter for Tanzania
African Trade Insurance Agency
"We welcome this great initiative fostered by the Berne Union. ATI together with other African ECAs are very keen to share our experiences of doing business and investing in the Sub-Saharan region. The platform aims to enhance Berne Union Members' businesses in the region of which Africa stands to benefit overall"
Tusekile Kibonde, Chair of the Working Group
The initial team includes representatives from ATI, BECI, ECGC Zimbabwe, ECIC SA, ICIEC, MIGA, together with BU Secretariat and Management Committee representative
As of 2022, six new members - Atradius DSB, Chubb, EKF, EH (now Allianz Trade), FCIA and USEXIM - joined the Working Group
topics of interest
The agenda of webinars and content of articles were driven by Member interest and market development. The first webinar focused on financing SMEs. The WG contributed to addressing ECA project finance in Africa. The second, two part webinar, focused on sovereign debt restructuring in post- pandemic landscape and future sustainable investments in Sub-Saharan Africa. Themes of focus varied and was driven by both African Members’ interests, as well as the Africa-related interests of non-African institutions.
webinars & supporting materials
Previous Webinars - see recordings
Potentials and Barriers for SME Financing in Sub-Saharan Africa
15 April 2021
Experiences supporting private companies in Africa, especially SMEs
Sovereign debt restructuring &
Future sustainable investment in Sub-Saharan Africa
04 November 2021
Sovereign debt and post-pandemic investment in Africa
Debt sustainability and Debt restructuring in Sub-Saharan Africa
21 April 2022
Discussion on debt sustainability issues in the context of G20 Common Framework
If you are interested in the SSA region and would like to contribute with the content that is topical for the community, please reach out to Berne Union Secretariat: Lewis Evans and Arturs Karlsons