Share move should boost farm insurance

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ZEP-RE is to acquire a majority stake in ACRE Africa, subject to relevant regulatory approval. The agreement paves the way to significant expansion of agricultural insurance for African smallholders.

ZEP-RE (PTA Reinsurance Company) has agreed with the shareholders to acquire a controlling 56% stake in ACRE Africa. ZEP-RE is a leading African reinsurer; ACRE Africa develops and distributes agricultural insurance products. The Nairobi-based company also offers advisory services to development organizations and insurance regulator associations. ACRE Africa operates in Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda. Completion of the acquisition is subject to approval from these countries’ competition and insurance regulators.

ACRE Africa’s main current shareholders are our Foundation (SFSA), the Adolf H. Lundin Charitable Foundation and the Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation (Grameen). SFSA will now hold a 20.8% stake in ACRE Africa; the Lundin Foundation and Grameen holdings remain at their current level. The transaction injects additional cash into the business to strengthen its current platform.                                                                                                

Speaking at the December 1st signing ceremony at ZEP-RE headquarters in Nairobi, CEO Hope Murera emphasized the need for greater risk-mitigation in agriculture. “In Sub-Saharan Africa, more than 70% of the population depends on agriculture for its livelihood”, she noted. “Agricultural insurance, however, is rarely available. Where it exists, insurance covers a very small segment of farmers. Smallholders face numerous risks, especially related to changes in climate.” ZEP-RE’s founding mandate is to develop insurance and reinsurance across Sub-Saharan Africa.

Our Executive Director Simon Winter, the present Chairman of ACRE Africa, declared: “ZEP-RE is the ideal new majority stakeholder. This acquisition is a milestone in the history of ACRE Africa, and in our quest to build a dynamic and sustainable smallholder agricultural insurance sector. We greatly look forward to seeing ACRE Africa flourish with the support and guidance of ZEP-RE.”

Olga Speckhardt, SFSA Head of Global Insurance Solutions and ACRE Africa Board member, added: “Climate change is a threat to Sub-Saharan smallholders, who are also hampered by lack of access to credit. The additional resources for ACRE Africa will help enhance climate risk insurance solutions to address both gaps, and hence increase farmers’ resilience and growth in the agriculture sector.”

ACRE Africa has been operating as a for-profit social business. The company has already developed a wide range of products and technology platforms for agricultural and micro-insurance. George Kuria, the company’s CEO, explained at the signing ceremony: “Our aim is to make insurance more widely available and to improve financial inclusion across Sub-Saharan Africa. The safety nets we are establishing will enable large numbers of vulnerable smallholders to farm with greater confidence and peace of mind.”

“Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation is excited that ZEP-RE is engaging with ACRE Africa”, commented Eric Campos, CEO of the Foundation and Head of CSR at Crédit Agricole SA. “The COVID-19 pandemic has underlined the importance of micro-insurance in helping the low-income rural population to build resilience. ZEP-RE’s expertise and its alignment with ACRE Africa’s mission to champion smallholders will open a new chapter for ACRE Africa, enabling it to enter new markets, increase its social impact and contribute to strengthening the rural micro-insurance industry.”

Rosanne Whalley, CEO of AHL Venture Partners, said: “We are thrilled to welcome ZEP-RE as a key strategic partner to advance ACRE’s mission and vision to democratize agricultural microinsurance. AHL looks forward to continuing to support ACRE’s success across the continent, alongside all our partners.” AHL Venture Partners manage the Adolf H. Lundin Charitable Foundation.

Guest of Honour at the signing ceremony was Alhaj Kaddunabbi Ibrahim Lubega, Chairman of the East African Insurance Supervisors Association and CEO of the Insurance Regulatory Authority of Uganda. He commended the parties involved in the transaction and the initiative taken by ZEP-RE, which will go a long way in enabling the provision and affordable access to agricultural insurance. The Regulator also thanked SFSA and the other shareholders for incubating ACRE Africa as a start-up, and for continuing shareholder loyalty in the next phase of growth.

ZEP-RE (PTA Reinsurance Company) is a regional organization charged with promoting trade, development, and integration within the COMESA region through the trade of insurance and reinsurance business. The company has been in operation since 1993 and is headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, with regional Hubs in Zimbabwe and Ivory Coast and country offices in Uganda, Zambia, Ethiopia, Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. For more information, please contact:

ACRE Africa is an innovative end-to-end insure-tech company, pioneering agri-insurance to smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa. ACRE Africa is a registered insurance service intermediary, specialized in agriculture insurance research, product design, and distribution.  ACRE targets smallholder farmers who are vulnerable to emergent climate change issues and have limited access to agri-insurance products. We combine our deep knowledge in agricultural value chains, investments in weather monitoring technology and assets, to design and distribute affordable agricultural insurance products. We collaborate with local insurance and re-insurance providers who underwrite insurance risk and leverage partnerships with existing value chain players to distribute products. For more information, please contact: