Sentenced to six months in prison for taking part in a banned demonstration, lawyer and activist Michèle Ndoki of the opposition Mouvement pour la Renaissance du Cameroun (MRC) faces the death penalty in other cases.
Allianz shakes up African operations
The group, which made $107bn in revenue in 2015, is trying to refocus its business on the continent to include greater exposure to agricultural and climate change insurance.
At the helm of this pivot is Delphine Traoré Maïdou, who was appointed chief operating officer for the group’s African business on 1 February.
“We are still doing the traditional motor insurance, house insurance, property insurance, but we are putting a little bit more focus now on some of those areas that have become a bigger issue for Africa, like climate and agriculture,” Maïdou tells The Africa Report.
Earlier this year, Allianz launched its new hub for its continent-wide operations in Casablanca, Morocco. The opening of this office reflects a new effort to streamline the group’s operations on the continent, Maïdou says.
“We are in 16 countries, but we’ve been working independently of each other for the past few years,” says Maïdou. “What we’re looking to do now is to have all of Allianz going in the same direction across Africa.”
One major target for the group is using mobile-insurance to raise penetration rates across the continent. “How do we access the uninsured to help grow the insurance market in Africa – that’s our main focus for the next three years,” Maïdou says, adding that the rise of mobile phones on the continent is one of the best ways to reach poor people.
Allianz is also leveraging its standing as the world’s largest insurance company. Last year, the company purchased Zurich Insurance’s Morocco business, which has 600,000 customers, for $275m. The company is looking for more acquisitions across the continent, says Maïdou.
Maïdou is watching pan-African insurance companies like Africa RE, Saham and Sanlam. “Our biggest competitors are pan-African reinsurers,” Maïdou says. “The other international reinsurers seem to have kind of slowed down their investment push in Africa.”