Togo Joins Nigeria, Others in African Trade Insurance Agency
By Adedapo Adesanya
Togo has joined Nigeria and some other countries on the continent as the 18th member of the African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI).
ATI is a pan-African financial institution that provides credit and political risk insurance products to support African investments.
The provision for Togo to join the organisation was backed by the European Investment Bank (EIB) through a $12.5 million concessional loan.
This was disclosed by the government of the West African country over the weekend through the Minister of Economy and Finance of the Republic of Togo, Mr Sani Yaya.
The move was accelerated due to the coronavirus pandemic, which African countries believe will put pressure on their capacities to insure investment and commercial risks.
“As we are preparing to handle the economic impacts of the coronavirus, African governments are trying to curb its short and long term effects.
“We believe that joining the ATI is necessary for us to reinforce our economy and face this storm.” Mr Yaya said.
On the part of Acting ATI CEO, Mr John Lentaigne, he said the membership was timely considering the current global reality.
“The membership of Togo pushes ATI one step closer to achieving full pan-African membership from countries from coast to coast.
“The COVID-19 crisis increases the relevance of African development finance institutions such as ATI.
“As the world struggles to get a handle on this fast moving pandemic, the combined resources of African institutions will be needed to effectively counter this newest threat to Africa’s development.”
Other West African nations that are already part of the ATI are Ghana, Niger, and Nigeria. They all joined in the past nine months.
As African countries begin to build buffers against the likely negative economic fall out from COVID-19, investment insurance capacity is seen as a critical part of the financial support that will be needed to shore up the economies of many African countries.
With Togo addition to the organisation, it gets its first access to international financial markets, with the country obtaining a quasi-concessional 10-year loan to reprofile and refinance a portion of its short-term and more expensive public debt.