Renewable Energy: Opportunities for the African Insurance Industry

Renewable energies are a daunting challenge of the 21st century and have to be part and parcel of our future on several accounts. Firstly, they fully contribute to the rise of a carbon-free economic development, a major problem that was highlighted during COP21. It is now scientifically proven that global warming, observed by climatologists for several decades, is due to the effects of human activity.

For many years, Africa has embraced this movement. The continent will be one of the major players in the medium term for several reasons: the need to build sometimes in-existent networks, facilitating development and growth, which is more dynamic than in the other continents and its privileged access to the sun - one of the main sources of energy.

It is an immense opportunity for Africa, the possibility to demonstrate that human development can be sustainable, and avoid the ecological disaster of the model initiated by Europe, North America, and massively deployed by Asia. Like all the other financial stakeholders, insurers, without whom most projects would fail, have the responsibility to facilitate the growth of renewable energies. This responsibility, which is a vital human concern, is equally economically profitable.

As in any insurance activity, understanding risks remains a prerequisite for growth in this sector. Indeed, there are risk prevention and protection rules which should be implemented to limit the exposure of energy power stations to the hazards covered by the insurer. The knowledge of the technologies used by operators, the methods and commitments with regard to the maintenance of facilities are also key in pricing and determination of deductibles.

Insurance markets in each African country can clearly rely on the feedback from pan-African or European markets. Reinsurance probably provides one of the best solutions considering its overall vision and vested interest in facilitating the understanding of risks by cedants.

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