Companies

ZB chases Mauritian dream

LIVINGSTONE MARUFU


ZB Financial Holdings has said it is at an advanced stage to meet the registration requirements to set up a reinsurance unit in Mauritius
as it moves to build the foreign currency reserves for the group.


The development will see the group’s insurance and reinsurance business being underwritten from Port Louis.


ZB chief executive Ron Mutandagayi told Business Times that the unit which will be called ZB Re International Mauritius will help the group
“to protect its finances in a stable economic environment where foreign currency is readily available”.


“Had it not been for the coronavirus [pandemic], we would have made progress.


Despite that we are not giving up on Mauritius project,” Mutandagayi said.
ZB Re International in Mauritius is expected to be underwriting all regional
business with premiums going into accounts of that newly formed company.


Mutandagayi said the group can invest in Mauritius in either the property or stock market and when claims are due the group will look at the
investments and cash position and the claims will be paid and
ZB can recoup its investments.


He said the private equity firm was assessing ZB’s capacity and is happy with the group’s progress. Mutandagayi said the private firm has the appetite to assist the group with funding of US dollars, a development
which allows the group to start operations in Mauritius.


He said the financial institution is on the verge of securing US$2m and begin operations. The group has moved to businesses outside
the country’s borders to harness premiums in forex as it moves
to grow its businesses as well as supporting the local units
which are in dire need of the elusive greenback.


The development comes after the group failed to raise the required US$1m to establish a reinsurance unit in Mozambique due to crippling
foreign currency shortages in Zimbabwe. ZB has been underwriting Mozambique business from Harare since 2016 but that had not been
viable ever since Mozambique suffered the devastating El Nino and Cyclone Idai and political instability, according to Mutandagayi.


By setting up a unit in Mauritius, ZB will be taking all premiums in Mozambique and other southern African countries to Mauritius for
investments.


Mauritius is the highest ranked economy in SubSaharan Africa on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index and is attracting the
highest number of investors in Africa due to one of the progressive investment environments on the continent.


Over the past 10 years, the total wealth held in Mauritius has risen by 195% in US dollar terms, making it the fastestgrowing wealth market in
Africa and one of the top three worldwide with US$43bn and per capita of US$33,000, making Mauritius the wealthiest country in Africa.


ZB’s expansion drive will help it grow revenues and spread risk. Optimum returns from the business are expected within the usual reinsurance cycle. Despite challenges that have been faced by Zimbabwean businesses in
Mozambique, ZB is optimistic its model is feasible.


Due to ravaging inflation and high cost of doing business and living, various companies are setting up bases in the region.

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