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The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, has signed an agreement to acquire a minority stake in the African Reinsurance Corporation (Africa Re), the only Africa-based provider of reinsurance services to the whole continent.

“Africa Re is the most significant locally-based reinsurer in Africa and gives critical support to the development of a healthy primary insurance market across the continent,” says Jyrki Koskelo, IFC’s director for Global Financial Markets.

Richard Ranken, IFC’s regional director for Sub-Saharan Africa, adds: “For nearly three decades Africa Re has consistently set the benchmark for the provision of quality reinsurance in Africa. With the geographic spread of its client base, robust operational results, and well-deserved reputation for superior customer service, Africa Re is an ideal partner for IFC. This investment is a key component of our strategy to support the development of well-managed primary insurance institutions in Africa.”

Bakary Kamara, Africa Re’s CEO states: “In this age of globalisation, Africa Re cannot rest on its past achievements. Our company must open up to partners that can add value and further its credibility, operations, records of transparency, and good governance. IFC is such a partner, and Africa Re is proud to have it as a shareholder.”

Africa Re was established in 1976 as an inter-governmental institution by member states of the African Union (formerly Organisation of African Unity) and the African Development Bank. The company’s headquarters are based in Lagos, Nigeria, with a network of regional and underwriting offices across the continent.