A few weeks ago, a huge chunk of the vibrant Kantamanto Market in Accra, burned completely to the ground – according to the media, luckily no one died. Having been to Kantamanto myself many times, knowing several of the traders by name, I knew I had to get down to see with my own eyes what had happened. Traders lost their shops and all of their items to sell. What’s clear from the picture below, is that literally everything burned to the ground.
However, this is not a tale of sadness and suffering, but that of progress.
When I visited the place the first time a few days after the fire, everyone’s mood seemed extremely tense. People were clearly and understandably affected by the incidence. Especially the police’s presence and their love for teargas usage made everyone very jumpy – as can also be seen on the picture above.
Nevertheless, when I visited again only shortly after, nearly all the shops had been put up again! Of course not at all to the same extent as prior to the fire, but everyone could be found at their original location on that compact plot of land. I could easily locate my ‘sunglasses guy’, my ‘hat guy’, and my ‘shirt guy’, and shop for new (old) items. Their shops had burned, but they were back in the same spot selling their stuff.
What surprised me was how fast they had all been able to get back in business. How was this possible?
I did a little research, and found part of the explanation: Microinsurance.
“Vanguard Assurance has paid GH₡ 45,000 (~ EUR 17,000) as claims to 32 traders who lost their goods in a fire outbreak that affected the Kantamanto market. The traders, who are clients of Adehyeman Savings and Loans Limited, were covered by an insurance component of 0.6 per cent of whatever amounts they took as loans.” …
“Stanbic Bank has written off about GH₡ 150,000 (~ EUR 57,000) loans owed by 14 victims of the Kantamanto Market fire outbreak in Accra. The traders who are customers of the Stanbic Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Quick Loans were also given GH¢1,000 each for their upkeep. At a ceremony in Accra, the Chief Executive of Stanbic Bank, Mr Alhassan Andani, said the traders were covered by an insurance component of 0.756 per cent of the loan that catered for misfortunes such as flood and fire.” …
“Some victims of the recent Kantamanto fire outbreak who took loans from Advans Ghana Savings and Loans have been financially supported with a first phase of GH¢ 115,000 (~ EUR 44,000) as insurance cover from Star Microinsurance through its MicroEnsure policy. Apart from the payment of the outstanding loans, all individuals who were affected by the fire were given a benefit token of GH¢200 free of charge.”
This of course might not be the entire explanation for the quick (and still ongoing) rebuilding, but it’s definitely part of it. So you better believe in microinsurance, for it is already here and it is already showing its worth.
Let’s advocate for a greater outreach of mandatory microinsurance and for a greater coverage – even for the smallest of micro businesses.