Mayfair Insurance Company has received a licence to enter the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), becoming the latest Kenyan financier to seek a piece of the mineral-rich country.
DRC’s insurance regulator said last week it had granted approval to the insurance company associated with politician Peter Kenneth to operate in the non-life business market.
“This brings the number of insurance operators on the DRC market to 15, including eight insurance companies," the local regulatory authority said in the press release posted on its Twitter account.
Mayfair already operates in Zambia, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania.
DRC opened up its market to private insurers last year, and now has eight insurance companies and seven brokerages, the regulator said. Mayfair had not responded to numerous requests for comment by Business Daily by press time.
Mayfair Insurance’s net profit rose by more than a third to Sh362 million in the year to December 2018 on the back of increased income from regional businesses, the insurer said earlier.
The insurer becomes the latest Kenya firm to target one of the biggest countries on the continent by land mass.
DRC is sub-Saharan Africa’s third most populous country.
Up to 96 percent of the citizens are unbanked in the vast and resource-rich DRC with a population of more than 85 million people.
This makes it appealing to ambitious financiers looking for growth on the continent.
Kenya’s Equity Bank #ticker:EQTY, with more than 14 million customers, operates in the DRC.
KCB Group #ticker:KCB announced last year it plans to buy a bank in the DRC as it looks to grow its regional footprint.
Listed insurer Jubilee Holdings said earlier it was awaiting grant of a licence to operate in the DRC after striking a partnership with State-owned insurance company, the National Insurance Corporation (Sonas), to operate there.
The DRC market is mainly focused on serving big companies with operations there, making it necessary to have a big balance sheet to be able to compete and grow, said analyst and Business Daily columnist George Bodo.
Despite the huge trade potential, the DRC remains a volatile nation, fraught with internal strife and persistent outbreaks of deadly diseases such as Ebola, which has killed more than 1,200 people since 2018.