By Alexactus Kaure
Namibia is playing host to the first-ever meeting of the Organisation of Eastern and Southern African Insurers (OESAI) whose 59th executive committee meeting is taking place in Windhoek.
Namibia is the newest member of OESAI, having been admitted in July 2007 at the organisation’s previous executive committee meeting held at Nyanga resort in Zimbabwe.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, the Deputy Minister of Finance, Tjekero Tweya, said: “Regional integration is an important phenomenon in the 21st century, and this meeting is really unique. It is a regional, as opposed to bilateral framework, covering six countries in our sub-region.”
He said the meeting offered an opportunity to design joint strategies in support of trade, investment, development and regional cooperation.
Tweya said that: “The financial services sector is extremely important to any economy. It confers several direct and indirect benefits on the economy and provides credible means necessary for economic growth and development.”
The contribution of the financial sector to gross domestic product is estimated at 3.5 percent. Tweya says given that scenario, insurance industries become critical and important institutions in the development of the financial services sector and in the management of risks, which are unforeseen, yet likely to occur.
The Deputy Minister said he was confident that OESAI would complement efforts aimed at enhancing regional economic cooperation in the areas of insurance and also advocate for regional reinsurance pools which would in turn contribute to pooling savings for the region’s development.
Tweya said the work of OESAI dovetails well with the broader drive towards integration in Africa as outlined in the Abuja Treaty that established the African Economic Community in 1991 and became operational in 1994.
He said that Namibia was looking forward to a fruitful cooperation and partnership with other countries in the region.