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Building resilience for the future of actuarial profession: Actuarial Society of Zimbabwe to host its Annual Convention in June 2023 – Zimbabwe Independent

Actuarial Society of Zimbabwe (ASZ)

IN recent years, the actuarial profession in Zimbabwe has seen substantial growth and improvement. In light of these advancements, it becomes crucial for actuaries to come together, share knowledge, and shape the future of the profession. The Actuarial Society of Zimbabwe (ASZ) holds annual conventions, a major gathering for the business and finance community, for precisely this reason.

The annual conventions have become the ultimate hub where brilliant minds unite, igniting a dynamic exchange of ideas, celebrating remarkable achievements and forging invaluable connections. With a common goal of propelling the growth of Zimbabwe’s insurance and financial services sector, the is extraordinary gathering beckons not only actuaries but key stakeholders in the finance sector which include executives, regulators, risk managers, Investment analysts, data scientists as well as underwriters year after year. Together they tackle the pressing challenges that confront the dynamic landscape of the insurance sector in Zimbabwe.

The upcoming 2023 ASZ Convention, scheduled to take place on the 8th and 9th of June at Cresta Lodge, promises to be an extraordinary event. With the theme “Rethinking the Actuarial Profession: Building Resilience for the Future,” the convention will explore how actuaries can adapt and more effectively contribute to the issues our generation which include but are not limited to AI, digitalization, climate change and sustainability, banking, risk-based capital, inclusive insurance, and more.

One of the remarkable aspects of the ASZ Convention is the opportunity it provides for professionals to connect and exchange ideas. Actuaries from Zimbabwe and beyond will have the chance to network and learn from each other’s expertise. In an ever-evolving world, where technological advancements and shifting market demands impact the actuarial profession, staying connected and embracing new ideas is crucial for success. The convention acts as a catalyst for collaboration and ensures that the actuarial field remains at the forefront of innovation.

Reflecting on the past ASZ Conventions, we can see the profound impact they have had on the profession. The 2022 Convention, held at the prestigious Meikles Hotel, explored the theme “Breakthrough to Excellence: Thriving in Turbulent Times.” It provided a platform to address the challenges brought by the post-Covid-19 era and chart a path towards building a resilient industry. Previous conventions, including the virtual gatherings in 2020 and 2021, focused on maintaining an edge in times of socio-economic upheaval and navigating the “new normal.”

The 2023 ASZ Convention presents an opportunity for all professionals, whether actuaries or individuals from the business and finance community, to attend and benefit from the discussions centred on building resilience. The convention will foster a spirit of togetherness, allowing attendees to connect with influential figures in innovation, strategy, leadership, micro-insurance, data analytics, and other emerging fields. It’s an occasion to expand one’s professional network and gain valuable insights into the future of the actuarial profession.

To stay ahead in today’s dynamic business landscape, attending the 2023 ASZ Convention is a must. The convention offers a unique opportunity to delve into the key topics shaping the future of the insurance industry, such as IFR17, weather index insurance, mortality table development for Zimbabwe, and ZICARP (the Solvency II equivalence for Zimbabwe). These topics are of great relevance to the business and finance community, even for those who may not have a background in actuarial science.

IFRS17, the International Financial Reporting Standard for insurance contracts, is a hot topic in the insurance industry. It sets out guidelines for how insurers should account for their contracts and report their financial performance. Understanding IFRS17 is crucial for businesses operating in the insurance sector, as it affects their financial statements and disclosures. The ASZ Convention provides an excellent opportunity to learn from experts in the field and gain insights into the implementation of IFRS17 in Zimbabwe.

Weather index insurance is another topic that has gained significant attention in recent years. With the increasing frequency and intensity of climate-related events, such as droughts and floods, businesses and individuals need innovative insurance solutions to protect themselves from weather-related risks. Weather index insurance uses weather data to determine payouts, making it a valuable tool for managing climate risks. At the ASZ Convention, participants can explore the potential of weather index insurance to enhance resilience of the agriculture sector and its implications for the financial industry.

Mortality table development for Zimbabwe is a critical aspect of actuarial work, particularly in the life insurance sector. Mortality tables provide insights into life expectancy and mortality rates, which are essential for pricing life insurance policies and assessing the financial risks associated with longevity. Actuaries play a vital role in developing accurate mortality tables that reflect the specific characteristics of the Zimbabwean population. The ASZ Convention can shed light on the latest advancements in mortality table development in Zimbabwe and its impact on the life insurance industry.

ZICARP, the Solvency II equivalence for Zimbabwe, is a regulatory framework that ensures the financial stability and solvency of insurance companies. ZICARP is a set of rules and requirements being implemented to protect policyholders and maintain the stability of the insurance industry. Zimbabwe’s adoption of this framework demonstrates its commitment to aligning with international standards and fostering a robust insurance sector. The ASZ Convention offers a platform to discuss the implications of ZICARP and its significance for insurers, regulators, and stakeholders in Zimbabwe.

In addition to the ASZ Convention, the Actuarial Society of Zimbabwe will co-host the inaugural Actuarial, Finance, Risk and Insurance Congress, scheduled for July 23 to 28, 2023, at the majestic Victoria Falls. The AFRIC Congress, focusing on actuarial, finance, risk, and insurance topics, aims to bring together academic and professionals. It will address pressing issues faced by the industry on the continent and provide a platform for networking with global experts.

In conclusion, the 2023 ASZ Convention is a must-attend event for actuaries, risk managers, executives, investment analysts or anyone with an interest in developments in the insurance sector. It brings together professionals from the actuarial, risk management, data science, and related fields to discuss key topics such as IFRS17, weather index insurance, mortality table development, and ZICARP. The convention not only fosters a spirit of togetherness within the actuarial profession but also provides valuable insights into the future of the industry. By attending the convention, one can expand their knowledge, network with industry experts, and stay informed about the latest trends and developments in the business and finance landscape.

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Farmers hail increase in irrigation schemes – The Herald

Precious Manomano-Herald Reporter

Smallholder farmers have applauded the Government for increasing investment in irrigation schemes to improve agricultural production despite the effects of climate change. 

The Government is targeting to increase the area under irrigation from the current 193 000ha to 350 000 hectares by 2025 as the country aims to boost production. 

The intention is to fight the effects of climate change although irrigation farming helps farmers in diversifying their farming operations thereby allowing them to grow crops all year round rather than engaging in seasonal productions. 

The rolling out of dam construction countrywide will also boost agricultural production, provide potable water and install mini-hydro power projects as the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa seeks to revolutionise agriculture, especially for smallholder farmers. 

The development of the dams was part of long term plans to support smallholder irrigation, boost food and agricultural production and harness water for industrial and domestic use. Farmers said irrigation schemes are critical for small holder farmers to improve agricultural production adding that Government’s move to introduce the system is greatly appreciated. 

They also said irrigation schemes constructed so far have turned the areas into green belts. 

One of the beneficiaries of Bubi- Lupane irrigation scheme, Mr Martin Hlongwane said the scheme has helped to transform subsistence agriculture at household level into commercial agriculture as part of rural development and industrialisation in line with vision 2030. 

He said following the revitalisation of the scheme in 2021, they have started reaping the rewards of their labour. 

“We are unemployed as a family, we struggled to make ends meet until Government availed this opportunity for us. We are grateful we can now afford to send our children to school,’’ he said. 

Mrs Margaret Simango of Guruve who stays near Dande said through their efforts, they are contributing towards boosting the country’s food security. 

“The irrigation scheme in Guruve has enabled my family to be food secure. I am also glad that in my small way, I am also contributing to Zimbabwe’s food security,” she said. 

A Chinhoyi farmer Mr Larry Muenza said his crop which is under irrigation was doing well. “We thank the Government for availing irrigation facilities. In the summer season we can continue with farming, we see the difference with those farmers without irrigation,” he said. Mr Taurai Mangisi of Katawa in Raffingora said because of climate change, rainfall patterns were no longer predictable and it was risky to depend on rain-fed agriculture.

“Some of us have been at the land for many years and we cannot be spoon-fed all the time. We ask for loan facilities where we can get irrigation equipment and pay in instalments,” he said. 

Zimbabwe Indigenous Women Farmers Trust Mrs Depinah Nkomo said most women farmers did not have irrigation facilities and urged the Government to invest in micro irrigation facilities. 

“If every woman can have one hectare under irrigation, we will be able to boost production of earnings from agriculture. We have the land and zeal to farm, but lack of irrigation facilities is affecting us. With irrigation we can grow different types of crops throughout the year and increase profits,” she said. 

Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development permanent secretary Dr John Basera said there is a need to move more towards irrigation development as it is vital for ensuring food security. 

’’This Agric-Climate Proofing Programme entails massive country-wide water harnessing and irrigation programmes targeting to resuscitate and develop up to 350 000ha under functional irrigation by 2025 from about 150 000ha in 2020. By 2022, the country recorded 193 000 ha under functional irrigation. This thrust will present great opportunities for climate change adaptation in the agric-production space, thus giving us a chance to go for growth proper and at scale, ’’he said. 

The Government created the Irrigation Development Alliance as a vigorous framework that seeks to promote investment in irrigation expansion by supporting partnerships between financial institutions, irrigation companies and farmers. The programme is part of the Government’s efforts to create an enabling environment for accelerated growth through enhancing irrigation development’s viability and effectiveness to build the country’s resilience to vulnerabilities and shocks that come as a result of climate change. 

The Government, under the Accelerated Irrigation Rehabilitation and Development programme, has started resuscitating communal irrigation schemes nationwide, a key enabler to improved yields and livestock production for smallholder farmers. 

In a recent interview, Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Minister, Dr Anxious Masuka said irrigation will transform the livelihoods and many households that are close to the irrigation scheme. 

However, this can only be achieved by focusing on improved production and productivity which can only be guaranteed if people take farming as a business. Increased agricultural production and productivity will in turn, enhance income, increase opportunities for value addition and the development of agribusiness value chains.

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Massive progress at MSU Law School – The Herald

Freedom Mupanedemo-Midlands Bureau

The construction of the ED Mnangagwa Law School at the Kwekwe Campus of Midlands State University (MSU), one of the projects put under the 100 day plan by the Second Republic, has recorded massive progress and is expected to be complete by August 2024. 

The two-storey ED Mnangagwa Law School will comprise some lecture rooms, a moot court, an e-library and an administration block among other sections. 

Already employing 239 workers, the bulk of them locals, the ED Mnangagwa Law School, will also house other faculties including agriculture and architecture is expected to recruit more than 1 000 students upon completion next year. 

If completed within the stipulated time, it would have broken the record by becoming one of the massive projects under the Second Republic to be completed within the shortest period of time. 

Speaking after touring the facility yesterday, Presidential Affairs and Monitoring Implementation of Government Programmes Permanent Secretary, Mrs Fananai Madambi expressed satisfaction at progress. 

“Upon completion, this is expected to become one of the best law schools in Africa and it has since been part of the 100 day cycle projects that the Government is closely monitoring and believe you me, it has been given special attention and it is getting the necessary support from the government,” she said. 

Mrs Madambi said with the commitment from the university itself and other stakeholders, it was possible that the project will be complete within the stipulated time-line. 

The project is being jointly funded by the treasury and the institution. 

“I have noted with pleasure the commitment coming from the university, the Minister of Provincial Affairs and Devolution (Senator Larry Mavima) and other stakeholders. It is proving to be a success. There is no doubt that the construction should be completed by August next year,” she said. 

Mrs Madambi urged local companies to take up opportunities presented by the university’s construction. 

“I am told that bricks are coming from Bulawayo and Harare. It is my wish that local companies benefit from the construction of this massive structure. We should be able to see companies supplying steel, bricks, cement and other building material that are required here,” she said. 

Midlands Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister, Senator Larry Mavima, said the campus was named in honour of the achievements made by President Mnangagwa in the development of this country.

“The idea of this law school was mooted by President Mnangagwa himself way back before he even became president. We then decided to implement the idea in his owner and recognition of the works that he is doing in the development of the country,” said Sen Mavima. 

He said had it not been of covid-19, construction could have been complete by now adding the new campus will play an important role in boosting the provincial GDP. 

“This is a way of proving that we can build our own nation despite the sanctions. If you look at this campus, MSU is providing its own builders instead of sub-contracting. They are also being supervised by MSU management and artisans. And it is also pleasing to note that most of the engineering works are being done on site proving that we can build our own country in line with President’s mantra “nyika inovakwa nevene vayo,” he said. 

Vice Chancellor, Professor Victor Muzvidziwa said given the continued availability of funds, the construction should be complete by August. 

“As long as we continue receiving resources the way we are doing, we should be able to complete the construction by August and take our first enrolment. This should be one of the leading law schools in Africa that will also attract foreign students,” he said. 

Prof Muzvidziwa said after completion of the initial block, there will be construction of staff accommodation as well as students’ hostels, a kitchen among other infrastructure. 

Sitting on 229 hectares, the university has brought with it excitement not only in Kwekwe but the province at large. 

It seeks to make education available to the communities, MSU has adopted a multi-campus philosophy that has seen it being in Gweru, Zvishavane, Harare and Bulawayo hence operationalising education 5.0 model.

MSU which is the biggest institution in Zimbabwe in terms of enrolment, is also looking forward to opening other campuses in Gokwe and Mutare.

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China now Zim’s largest FDI source – The Herald

Kudzanai Sharara in Beijing, China

China has made huge inroads into the Zimbabwean economy in terms of investment, which is expected to grow further following the three-day ZimTrade organised Zimbabwe-China Business Forum, which ends today in Beijing, China.

The Asian giant, the second biggest economy in the world after the USA, now holds the number one spot in terms of investment into Zimbabwe, according to Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency (ZIDA) chief investment officer Silibaziso Chizwina.

In her presentation at the official opening of the highly subscribed business forum, Ms Chizwina revealed that Zimbabwe has 427 licensed Chinese companies in various sectors of the economy, making it the biggest source of foreign direct investment in the country.

“Of those, 228 are in the mining sector, 95 in manufacturing, 57 in the services sector while construction has 15 with the rest shared between, transport, energy, agriculture and tourism,” Ms Chizwina said.

She said that 72 of those licences were issued in the last three months, which shows “how much potential there is in our country.”

The huge appetite by Chinese investors is in line with Zimbabwe’s engagement and re-engagement drive and also dovetails with Zimbabwe’s Open for Business mantra.

Continued growth in investments across sectors of the Zimbabwean economy will help the country attain its quest to be an upper-middle-income economy by 2030.

Zimbabwe’s cooperation with China spans from infrastructure construction and mineral exploitation to investment and trade, and more is expected after this week’s business forum.

Chinese giants Sinomine Resource Group, Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt, and Chengxin Lithium Group have since 2022 acquired lithium mines and invested in projects worth a combined US$678 million in Zimbabwe, and are at various stages of developing mines. The two companies are also developing processing plants at the mines.

Another Chinese firm, steel giant Tsingshan Holding Group through its subsidiary, Dinson Iron and Steel Company, is building a US$1 billion steel-manufacturing plant that could turn Zimbabwe into one of Africa’s largest producers of iron and steel products.

The plant, which will be ready later this year, will initially produce 600 000 tonnes of steel a year and the production could double when it reaches full throttle.

Ms Chizwina said in 2023, US$295 million had come from Chinese investors.

“China remains our highest investment partner in the country for the last three years, they have taken poll position number 1.

“In 2022 alone, we calculated US$1,3 bln worth of investments came from China alone.

“Our highest investor to date is a US$900 million iron and steel plant, which is currently under establishment and estimated to produce 500 000 tonnes of steel by November 2023,” Ms Chizwina said.

Despite these huge investments, Ms Chizwina said Zimbabwe had the capacity to absorb more in all sectors of the economy.

Some of the investment opportunities are in the energy sector where there is a deficit of 1 500MW according to Ms Chizwina.

This, she said, requires investments in transmission infrastructure, financing of independent power producers and financing investment into renewable energy production through hydropower and solar power.

“These are all areas the Government is currently pushing to have many more investors to come on board. In addition, our ago-production has a shortfall of about 55 percent which we are slowly covering,” she said.

Ms Chizwina said the Government had been working aggressively to establish irrigation facilities across the country through the development of large water facilities like Tokwe Mukosi Dam, which is ready for investors to come on board and establish irrigation and associated projects the local communities can then benefit from.

Other areas investors can tap into are fertiliser, dairy, and horticulture production.

The cotton-to-clothing value chain is also another area that offers investment opportunities to investors, according to Ms Chizwina. Housing, infrastructure, roads and rail also offer massive investment opportunities according to Chizwina.

“Our health services have been estimated to require about US$3 billion in investment over the next 5 to 10 years in order to bring the level of medical facilities to a level which allows our people to be treated within first world facilities,” she said.

Zimbabwe has a deficit of 2 000 hotel rooms, which is another area that offers investment opportunities.

The Zimbabwe-Business Forum, which started on May 30 and ends on June 1, 2023, was organised by national trade development and promotion agency, ZimTrade, to improve the visibility of Zimbabwean products in the Asian market.

The Business Forum is not only focusing on trade, but investment and tourism as well, according to ZimTrade chief executive officer Allan Majuru.

This is in line with the economic diplomacy being championed by President Mnangagwa, whose Government’s policy thrust has always been to open the country for doing business.

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