NAIROBI, 23 April, 2018 – At its 61st meeting held on 11 April, 2018, the Board of Directors of the African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI) elected Dr. Yohannes Ayalew Birru as their new Chairman.
Dr. Birru serves as Vice Governor and Chief Economist of Ethiopia’s Central Bank (National Bank of Ethiopia). He is also an Alternate Governor of the IMF and Alternate Steering Committee member of East AFRITAC. He brings 28 years of cumulative experience in the areas of finance, monetary policy and economic growth. He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Sussex, United Kingdom.
During the same meeting, Ms. Michal Ron, Managing Director and Head of International Business of Italy’s export credit agency, SACE S.p.A, was also elected as Vice Chairperson.
“I am confident that, together with fellow members of the Board of Directors and the Management, we will make ATI one of the world-class Pan-African organizations that could help accelerate the fulfillment of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 through its contribution to ensuring high and sustained growth in trade and investment,” stated Dr. Birru.
As ATI’s new Board Chairman, Dr. Birru will provide the overall leadership which will steer the organisation towards attaining its key strategic objectives including increasing ATI’s footprint across the African continent. Dr. Birru’s appointment as a member of the ATI Board and Chairman is part of a restructuring process which led to a competitive selection and appointment of new members of the Board at the end of 2017.
“We welcome Dr. Birru’s appointment as Chairman of ATI’s Board of Directors. We look forward to benefiting from his experience and leadership at this critical juncture in ATI’s development that will likely see the organisation move to the top-tier in its field alongside some of the largest global providers of investment and trade credit insurance,” noted George Otieno, the CEO of ATI.
Dr. Birru succeeds Tanzania’s former Commissioner of Insurance Mr. Israel Kamuzora, who held the position of Chairman since 2009. Under his stewardship, ATI maintained an ‘A/Stable’ rating from S&P and achieved about US$10 million of profit at the end of 2017 from a loss making position of US$644,000. In the same period, ATI’s gross exposure, which represents the total value of investment projects and trade transactions supported by ATI, grew significantly from US$ 255 million to the current US$ 2.4 billion of transactions supported in 2017 alone.
“I wish to thank ATI shareholders, Board and Management for their invaluable support throughout my tenure as Chairman of the Board of Directors. The success of ATI as the only multilateral guarantor of its kind in Africa is attributable not only to a visionary Board that has been in place, but also a highly professional management team that has consistently been delivering positive underwriting results. As I end my tenure as Board Chairman, I wish to assure all our stakeholders that ATI is a strong organisation and continues to operate with a high sense of professionalism. I therefore, have no doubt in my mind that the new Board will take off from where we have left and steer ATI to greater heights,” said Mr. Kamuzora.