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Absa: Africa target for Islamic insurance

Africa will remain a key focus for Barclays and Absa and one of the next steps is to take the group’s Islamic Insurance offering‚ Takaful‚ into the African continent‚ says Uwaiz Jassat‚ Takaful South Africa’s CEO.

Africa has a Muslim population of more than 500 million and Jassat says this market provides a massive opportunity for Absa.

Absa head offices in the Johannesburg CBD. Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi. Credit: Business Report

The Takaful (Islamic Insurance) product was launched in South Africa in 2003. In 2011 Absa acquired the business of Takafol South Africa.

“This was started from a zero base‚ and introduced a new concept to the South African market”‚ says Jassat.” Since then Takaful has shown tremendous growth‚ which has been exponential with the average year on year growth of over 40%. “This shows the tremendous appetite for Islamic products and mirrors Absa’s experience on its Islamic Banking products.”

Jassat says they aim to use Absa and Barclays experience on the African continent as well as its bancassurance models to provide products that are suitable for each country.

“We already launched a Takaful product in Tanzania‚ the first of its kind in the region. We have also seen real appetite for this type of insurance and the growth has been beyond our expectations‚” Jassat continued.

He expects further growth of the Takaful product in the local South African market‚ given that it has been recognised as an innovative approach to providing insurance in a non-Islamic country.

“In South Africa we have seen that the concept resonates well with the Ubuntu and Stokvel concepts. The next step is to create products that would attract the low income and emerging market segments. Furthermore‚ worldwide experience of Takaful and Islamic Banking has shown that financial products that adhere to this strict criteria is becoming more and more attractive to non-muslim customers. There are various reasons for this‚ with the most common being the elimination of interest and other unethical business practices‚” says Jassat. - I-Net Bridge

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