MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Swiss Re to Assist International Finance Corporation (IFC) With Global Index Insurance Facility (GIIF) For West Africa

International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private-investment arm of the World Bank Group, and Swiss Re Corporate Solutions (Swiss Re), a reinsurer and financial services group based in Zurich, Switzerland, have partnered to further develop the Global Index Insurance Facility (GIIF) [1]. Index insurance is a product that covers farmers against presumed crop failure based on measurable factors such as if rainfall is below a predetermined threshold. GIIF was launched by IFC in 2009 as a regional platform intended “to develop agricultural insurance systems in West African countries including Senegal, Mali and Burkina Faso” [2].

Swiss Re will provide technical services to GIIF projects and support unspecified strategic objectives through its experience in developing risk transfer solutions for emerging markets. IFC CEO Lars Thunell stated, “Innovative insurance products offer small farmers the tools they need to manage risks from unforeseeable events, giving them the certainty they need to grow their operations… Our partnership with Swiss Re Corporate Solutions will help us develop affordable new types of index-based insurance” [1].

GIIF, which is based in Senegal with satellite branches in the Mali and Burkina Faso, aims to reach 60,000 people directly and raise awareness of agricultural insurance amongst 165,000 farmers by 2015 [2]. In 2009 the European Union committed EUR 24.5 million (USD 35.8 million) as the first donor to the GIIF Trust Fund. The fund has also been supported by Japan’s Ministry of Finance with an initial grant of USD 2 million and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which provided an unspecified level of funding to establish the facility.

By: Alexandra Pattee, Research Associate,

About International Finance Corporation (IFC): The International Finance Corporation (IFC) is a member of the World Bank Group that was created to support private sector development, mobilize private capital and provide advisory and risk mitigation services. IFC offers loans, equity investments, advisory services and technical assistance to private companies with the intent of alleviating poverty and promoting open and competitive markets in developing countries. As of 2011, IFC has 182 member countries that drive its policies and approve disbursements. As of June 30, 2010, IFC has net income of USD 1.75 billion, total assets of USD 61 billion, return on assets of 3.1 percent, total investment mobilization of USD 18.4 billion and 528 projects.

About Swiss Reinsurance Company Limited (Swiss Re): Swiss Reinsurance Company Limited (Swiss Re) is a reinsurer and financial services group based in Zurich, Switzerland. Swiss Re was founded in 1863 to offer financial products that enable risk-taking. The company operates through offices in approximately 20 countries. As of September 2010, Swiss Re reports total assets of USD 236 billion.

Sources and Resources:

[1] International Finance Corporation (IFC) Press Release, “IFC, Swiss Re Foster Index-Based Insurance Markets in Developing Countries”, http://www.ifc.org/ifcext/media.nsf/content/SelectedPressRelease?OpenDocument&UNID=89FC4F72268F1D5F852578A2005D613C

[2] MicroCapital.org Article, April 19, 2011, “PlaNet Guarantee, Global Index Insurance Facility (GIIF) to Launch Index Insurance Platform in West Africa”, http://www.microcapital.org/microcapital-brief-planet-guarantee-global-index-insurance-facility-giif-to-launch-index-insurance-platform-in-west-africa/

MicroCapital.org Article, April 7, 2011, “Microinsurance Catastrophe Risk Organization (MiCRO) Created to Help Protect Microentrepreneurs in Haiti”, http://www.microcapital.org/microcapital-brief-microinsurance-cataostrophe-risk-organization-micro-created-to-help-protect-microentrepreneurs-in-haiti/

MicroCapital.org Article, December 4, 2009, “International Finance Corporation (IFC), European Commission and Netherlands’Ministry of Foreign Affairs Launch “Global Index Insurance Facility” to Expand Access to Microinsurance”, http://www.microcapital.org/microcapital-brief-international-finance-corporation-ifc-european-commission-and-netherlands?-ministry-of-foreign-affairs-launch-?global-index-insurance-facility?-to-expand/

MicroCapital’s Microfinance Universe: International Finance Corporation (IFC), http://www.microcapital.org/microfinanceuniverse/tiki-index.php?page=International+Finance+Corporation+%28IFC%29

MicroCapital’s Microfinance Universe: Swiss Reinsurance Company Limited (Swiss Re), http://www.microcapital.org/microfinanceuniverse/tiki-index.php?page=Swiss+Reinsurance+Company+Limited+(Swiss+Re)

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