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Benin ahead of Ghana in becoming ATI member in West Africa

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The Republic of Benin has become the first country in West Africa ahead of Ghana to become a member of the African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI).

The ATI is Africa’s only multilateral investment and trade credit insurer. And with the official signing of the Treaty by Dr. Thomas Yayi Boni, President of Benin, and George Otieno, CEO of ATI, Benin has concluded the final stage in the membership process allowing ATI to  underwrite businesses in Benin.

In a press release issued Thursday September 8, 2011 the day of the signing and copied to ghanabusinessnews.com, the ATI says “with the agreement in place, Benin’s membership is complete and companies can now apply for ATI products to back deals there.”

Commenting the ATI’s CEO says, “when African countries join ATI, they benefit in several ways. First, investors are more inclined to do business in a particular country when their assets can be protected against political and related risks. Second, African exporters and traders are able to compete globally when their payment risks are covered by insurance. And most importantly, ATI’s insurance can help secure financing for vital infrastructure needs.”

The ATI indicates that in the first half of 2011, it has already recorded enquiries from financial institutions interested in projects in Benin from France, Italy, Mauritius, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

“With a value of $35 million these projects in the energy, manufacturing, mining and telecommunications sectors could substantially improve Benin’s infrastructure development,”  the insurer says.

According to the ATI in June 2011 the World Bank approved funding for Benin and Ghana’s membership into ATI. “Once funding is in place the final step into membership is the signing of the ATI Treaty, a document that essentially secures a country’s commitment to avoid causing insurance claims in any ATI-backed projects,” it says.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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