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Alba Iulia
Sunday, January 19, 2020

Kenyan firm buys Alexander Forbes stake in Zambia

Economy Kenyan firm buys Alexander Forbes stake in Zambia

Alexander Forbes
Alexander Forbes

Nairobi-based financial services provider Octagon Africa has completed the purchase of a 49 per cent shareholding in Alexander Forbes Financial Services Zambia.

This follows an announcement on the Johannesburg Securities Exchange News Service (SENS) by Alexander Forbes Group Holdings to review its strategic business and operating model in March this year.

The refocused strategy has seen the South African-based retirement services provider exit countries such as Uganda and Zambia.

It has also disposed of some of its businesses such as property and casualty unit in South Africa.

Alexander Forbes Emerging Markets Chief Executive Officer Bonga Mokoena described Octagon Africa as “the best fit for our business” and projected a seamless transition.

“As a result of our new strategy of offering a centralized advice-led solution platform in Africa, we have decided to exit some in-country operations, including Zambia,” said Mr Mokoena.

“We are glad that Octagon Africa is the best fit for our business, and we are confident of a seamless transition and our clients can be assured of excellent service as always.”

Octagon Africa Group Chief Executive Fred Waswa welcomed the buyout, terming it historic.

“Octagon Africa is delighted to mark such a historic moment in our business by buying out Alexander Forbes business in Zambia and also being the official service provider for their clients in this market. We take pride in excellent service delivery and offering innovative solutions that meet our clients’ needs,” said Waswa.

Besides providing financial services, Octagon also runs training programs for retirement benefits schemes.

Mr. Waswa said the investment is the culmination of a collaboration with the Johannesburg-listed firm, which started with the Kenyan company opening its representative office in Lusaka last February.

“We have had a team there (Lusaka) familiarising our Zambia team with our company culture while creating a new learning platform that will guide the formulation of future products for our various markets,” he said.

Mr Waswa, however, declined to disclose the value of the deal, saying they had signed a non-disclosure agreement on the investment amount.

“We believe the deal gives Octagon new space to serve the over 40,000 members in Zambia,” he said.

Alexander Forbes Emerging Markets chief executive Bonga Mokoena said their decision to dispose of the business was based on their board’s decision to concentrate on an advice-led solution platform.

“We decided to exit some in-country operations including Zambia where Octagon Africa is the best fit for our business and are confident that our clients are assured of excellent service as always,” he said.

Octagon has been operational for the past 12 years serving 200 corporate clients in Kenya, Uganda and Zambia.

Octagon Africa, which is majority-owned by Mr Waswa with 70 employees at its Kenya, Uganda and Zambia businesses, recently introduced a mass-market mobile phone-based retirement savings product dubbed Mobikeza for the Kenyan market.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Can someone explain why a lot Zambian insurance firms are reported to be failing but foreign insurance market seem to doing well entering the market. Kenya is a surprise, not even in SADC but EAC. There seems to be more than meets the eye!

  2. The Zambian businesses are missing out on combination of activities that Kenyans are probably utilising.
    Other factor could be the tax synergy that puts the operations from Kenya to be more business friendly.

    Zambia is more focused on taxing the free to achieving tax targets forgetting that in the process businesses are losing share value.

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