IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, partnered with Activa Assurances to launch today an insurance program in Cameroon that will boost coverage for women, including women entrepreneurs. Activa Assurances expects the program to benefit 1 million women by 2022.
Under the program, Activa Assurances will provide women entrepreneurs and traders—or buyam-sellams—with insurance to protect against disruptive events in life or business operations. They will also receive training to expand their businesses. Women entrepreneurs will have access to a web portal that will provide them with a range of information and services, such as training and toolkits and access to networks to expand their businesses. Women market traders will access a holistic protection packaged covering their health as well as the management and protection of their merchandise from weather and thefts.
IFC and Activa expect the program to increase insurance penetration in Cameroon, which currently stands at less than 2 percent.
“There is both a business and social case for integrating gender and targeting women in inclusive insurance,” said Aliou Maiga, IFC’s Director for West and Central Africa. “Women are critical to the economic growth of our region, making sure they are equipped with strong risk protection mechanisms will further enable them to be active players in the development of Cameroon.”
Richard Lowe, Executive Chairman of Activa Group, said, “Cameroonian women have benefitted over the past decades from better education paths that develop talent and skills, which in turn has provided them with access to better income-making opportunities. Financial security and empowerment give women real opportunities and choices about their lives and those of their loved ones. Activa, through the program Activ’ Lady, the first Women Insurance Program in Cameroun—is committed to tackling the obstacles that might restrict women from building their financial security and will focus on practical solutions to help improve their lives.”
Earlier this month, IFC and Activa International Insurance Ghana launched a similar program to increase insurance coverage for women and women in business in Ghana. The two programs, both called Activ’Lady, follow an IFC-led study SheforShield that found the insurance industry can earn up to $1.7 trillion globally by 2030 if they focus on women alone, with 50 percent of this opportunity coming from emerging markets.
The insurance initiative 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.