This report takes stock of market development indicators across a sample of 15 sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries – chosen to be representative of different regions and stages of market development – to unpack the role that insurance markets play in supporting economic growth. It outlines the transmission mechanisms and the preconditions to fulfilling this role, and how the contribution to growth evolves across different stages of insurance market development. It asks some tough questions regarding why, notwithstanding rapid economic growth in many African countries and the growing demand for long-term finance for infrastructure and other uses, insurance markets in SSA remain underdeveloped. The insights gained are then used to explore what can be done to unlock the role of insurance in supporting economic growth and poverty reduction.
The analysis draws on extensive desktop research, interviews with insurers, reinsurers, regulators, donors, experts and rating agencies; and an email questionnaire.2 As a think piece, the aim of this note is to stimulate debate by providing a framework for considering the role of insurance in growth in SSA.