Al-Borsa sat down with Gilbert Chahine, CEO of AXA Egypt, to discuss the economic environment in Egypt, its recent negotiations with several partners in the regional market and its move to enter the microinsurance business in Egypt.
What do you think about the economic environment in Egypt?
The flotation of the Egyptian currency has been a very bold, strong, and needed move from the Egyptian government. We are fully supportive of this action and the planned reforms that started and will continue taking place in the next period.
All of these measures were needed to reposition Egypt as a prime location from an investment standpoint, enhance economic growth, and solve the crisis that we were in with regards to the availability of foreign currency in the market.
We view them as positive for the Egyptian economy despite some current difficulties in particular when it comes to inflation, which has been a major concern for us and a lot of players in the market.
I believe that the Egyptian market might witness a consolidation in the medium or long term, as a natural maturity evolution that has been experienced in other markets.
What are the latest developments in the negotiations with the Kanoo and Sawiris families to contribute to AXA’s capital?
Our discussions with potential partners were to see whether we can reach an agreement on partnering with some investors here in the market.
Today, we can say that we are very proud to have signed a partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) that will see the IFC entering the capital of AXA Egypt with a 10% shareholding stake.
This partnership is still pending regulatory approval to be finalised, which is expected to take place in the coming weeks.
What about the Kanoo and Sawiris families contributing to AXA?
Today, we are proud of the partnership that we have with the IFC and of our shareholder structure after the finalisation of the transaction with the IFC.
The economic environment in Egypt has materially changed over the past months with the flotation of the Egyptian pound which has impacted the strategy of many investors in Egypt. The Kanoo and Sawiris families will remain privileged business partners of AXA Egypt and we are looking forward to continuing our collaboration with them over time.
What about your cooperation in microinsurance in the next period?
We are discussing that with many different partners—whether in the telecommunications field or governmental institutions like the post office—in the market to make sure that we find the right operating model to reach a large portion of potential customers.
How do you see your chances of spreading to post offices and competing with local companies?
At AXA, we are very innovative and able to leverage our global knowhow in terms of tools, technology, and products in order to come up with a proposal that will be adapted and valued by our partners.
The company is working on many studies on microinsurance programs in Egypt, in collaboration with “MicroEnsure”, and we are expecting to launch some of them during the second half of 2017.
Egypt has a great demand for microinsurance programs and AXA Egypt is committed to providing a large share of this segment with the needed solutions, services, and support.