In the News
A report by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Swiss Re suggests that an ageing China will constitute a new market segment for the Insurers in the region. Come 2015 and the working age population – 15 to 59 –year-old bracket – will start dwindling and by the middle of the century, roughly 34% of her population will cross 60 .
In the pension system, on one hand, the voluntary pension schemes have a long way to go and on the other, the benefits avalable under the mandatory social insurance scheme are not expected to keep pace with the living costs, which will keep mounting. This, then, presents a clear opportunity to the Insurers, who should work towards facilitating regulatory reforms, to inter alia, enable the development of complementary pension and healthcare insurance markets. Those who pick up the gauntlet, will add to their revenue streams.
Knowledgeable sources in Singapore have indicated that the country's financing scheme may not be able to keep pace with the long-term care needs of its ageing populace. The state-run insurance schemes Medisave, MediShield and Medifund are perceived to be rigged towards hospital care. Further, it has also been opined that the only national insurance scheme for disability and long-term care viz. ElderShield may not be adequate.
This scheme relies too much on the initiatives of voluntary welfare organisations, patients' families and cheap labour. All this and the overall financial structure need to be thoroughly reviewed on priority. The good thing is that the Health Ministry has announced that they would be reviewing the Eldershield scheme next year. As of now, the scheme provides for a monthly payment of S$ 400 (US $ 322) to an incapacitated person, which measures up to only about half the actual expenses.
However, it is possible for one to buy higher coverage from the private insurers. The latter are willing to do their bit for long-term care insurance and it is imperative that the government undertakes a comprehensive study and quantifies the needs of the target population and also sets the direction signs.
Vietnam with its more than 3,200 km long coastline has been cited as being at a great risk of facing extreme weather and sea-level rise due to climatic changes.
A UN study saya that a rise of one meter in the sea-level can submerge about 40,000 sk kms of the country and thereby affect 25% of the population. In the recent years, several initiatives have been taken in the country to build local capacity and systematize community-based response to disasters.However, the local businesses have not been engaged in such initiatives and sadly, 80% of them have not even supported others in times of disasters.
Statistically, of the over half a million businesses in the country, 90% are small and medium-sized, employing 9.5 million people and accounting for 40% of the country's GDP. However, many of them do not have alternative supply routes and half do not have any plans whatsoever to protect their equipment and data, should a disaster strike. 40% of SMEs do not have disaster insurance even though 60% have lost physical infrastructure, products and data in the recent years. In short, two-thirds of SMEs are unprepared for natural disasters and the other one-third are only ready with plans but possess no capacity to implement them .
Financial assistance from the African Development Bank to the tune of US$ 336 mn is poised to give a fillip to Kenya's clean energy and road infrastructure development projects. This will include US$186.7mn for the Mombasa-Nairobi-Addis Ababa Road Corridor Project , and a combined loan and grant amounting to US$149.5mn towards the Menengai Geothermal Development Project. The road funds are meant for developing 320 kms of road and paying for transport and trade facilitation consultancy services, towards improving procedures at the Kenyan border with Ethiopia. In the meantime, the energy funds will be utilised in the first phase of the geothermal development project, which will have a potential of upto 1,600 MW.
Having received funds amounting to US$ 168 mn from India's Exim Bank and US$ 112 mn from the government of DRC, engineers have started work on a dam which will supply power to Kananga, a large city in western Kasai province. Currently, the people there are forced to depend only on diesel generators, which only some some can afford. The dam is expected to generate 64 MW of power, out of which, about 20 MW will go to the households and the rest to the industries.
With a view to compensating for the loss of production, caused by the secession of South Sudan, the Sudanese oil ministry recently launched a bidding process for six blocks across the country. In response, 60 firms expressed interest, though only 10 submitted formal bids. Now, going forward, the government hopes to enhance the production of oil beyond the present 115,000 barrels per day. The government also wants to raise gas production, to be able to keep pace with the rising demand from its households.
Lately, foreign firms have elicited interest in supplying power to the power-starved but rapidly developing Uganda. An Indian company called Spanco, otherwise focused on IT products and support services, has said that they want to enter the power sector in Uganda.
Having resolved their dispute with Antananarivo in June 2011 over the validity of a production sharing contract, Madagascar Oil took some time for raising cash and have now begun drilling on the Tsimiroro heavy oil field in the onshore Morondava basin . They plan to spud 28 pilot wells, targeting the first production for the 4thquarter of 2012.
Though preliminary tests have not proved this in a conclusive manner; it is believed that Namibia has impressive offshore oil and gas reserves. The government has, in fact, issued two new exploration licences to Maurel and Prom, to look for hydrocarbons in the Walvis basin at the depth of upto 2,500 meters.
Another company, Chariot Oil & Gas has concluded deals with BP and Petrobras to farm in its southern blocks, including a project called Nimrod, which is expected to hold up to 4.9bn barrels of oil. More deals are expected for the company's northern blocks.