STRONG & SOUND

Mozambique 2016 | FINANCE | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Celso Raposo, Managing Director of Global Alliance Seguros, SA, on the challenging year for business, the oil and gas hype, and opportunities in the sector.

Celso Raposo
BIOGRAPHY
Celso Raposo was born in the central Mozambican city of Quelimane. He is a chartered accountant and certified auditor with vast experience in external and internal audit, financial and managerial accounting, and intensive professional training with a specialization in financial services. Celso has participated in investment research in Mozambique and has penned several newspaper articles. Celso has an Honors Degree in Management from Universidade Eduardo Mondlane and an MBA from the University of Liverpool. He aspires to continually contribute to the growth and prosperity of Global Alliance Seguros, SA, as well as the growth and development of Mozambique as a whole.

How does the relationship with Barclays enhance Global Alliance's branding strategy?

We have a strong and sound relationship with Barclays, and ultimately we are part of the same group. Barclays is a household name globally, and we are trying to leverage all the opportunities that we can in terms of banking and insurance, maximizing cross-selling and bancassurance opportunities on three fronts in retail, corporate, and investment, as well as business banking. With so many competitors coming into the market, we also understand healthy competition will come with the growth of the market. If the market is not growing then dumping will come along and this brings a rollercoaster effect on the entire business and economy chain. Competition will always be there and increase, either quality or quantity wise, which is excellent for both the customer and the economy. It also brings the innovation side of businesses. We have to go back to basics and keep doing what we do best, which is offering the best services and keeping our promises to clients. The rest will come with the correct attitude in and to the market.

How is Global Alliance's portfolio evolving?

When the market is not growing at desirable levels and in the face of challenges, it is necessary to either maximize the productivity of the customer portfolio through new products and services, or create a new market. We have seen that the insurance market is dominated by corporate insurance and that there is a market gap in retail insurance, so we are considering tapping into this gap. Everyone talks and is waiting for oil and gas to kick in, but this is too much fuss about something that we have not yet banked; there are so many uncertainties about it. As a business, we have to think about sustainability so we can balance our earnings and growth in order to remain relevant. All businesses should devise strategies that will keep them in the game in a sustainable way, when oil and gas materializes it will be a bonus for everyone.

What industries hold the greatest potential for growth and development?

There are opportunities in all sectors. For Global Alliance, agriculture represents great opportunity with some 80% of the population working in the sector, although we are interested in insuring the assets for now, there is opportunity in insuring crops also. However, because of the volatility of this business, if the government could create a sort of back-up, the way that other countries have, to the insurance companies, I believe that this would be of interest to the market as a whole. We do this by working together and not individually, like a syndicate where the government is there and presents security and guidance.

What is your mid-term outlook for the local economy?

Every single business needs to devise sustainable strategies. My personal opinion is that the expectations for oil and gas are too high for something that is still in the embryonic stage and has not materialized—there are huge uncertainties to it, and this should not be the case. We have to carry on with our businesses and if everything goes well, we all have a bonus. This is a tough year for most businesses, as there is a combination of internal and external factors that are affecting the economy. However, whenever there is a slowdown or crisis I see new opportunities, because if we are losing on one front, we have to look for another segment to compensate. From now on things can only get better. Mozambique has a bright future, and in the long term there are many opportunities to be exploited by everyone.