Ambition Africa / Emmanuel PEZÉ, Vice President Africa/MO for TINUBU: “(…)


By Bruno FANUCCHI for AfricaPresse.Paris (APP)


APP – What is the purpose of your presence at IVe edition of Ambition Africa in Bercy ?

Emmanuel PEZÉ – I personally participate every year for two good reasons. We collaborate a lot with Business France because BPI has been one of our historical shareholders for about ten years and we now have a constant partnership with Business France.

The second reason for my presence here is that Ambition Africa is a meeting place primarily for French-speaking Africans. However, TINUBU, a credit insurance software publisher, has yet to conquer major markets in French-speaking Africa, even though one of our founders is Togolese. Within TINUBU I am responsible for the Sales of our systems and services to Africa and the Middle East. So I came mainly to make contacts.

For TINUBU, VSEs and SMEs have a pressing need for credit insurance companies to provide the guarantees that they mostly have great difficulty in providing in order to obtain bank loans or supplier credit, without which they cannot invest and grow.

APP – Where does this original name of your company come from, which is French anyway? ?

Emmanuel PEZÉ – Our company is a French nugget that plays an eminently strategic role, but its name – TINUBU – has a history. TINUBU Square is the name of a square in Lagos, the former capital of Nigeria, where my younger brother Jérôme began his career working for SCOA (West African Commercial Company) and went once a week to TINUBU Square to meet with representatives for the Nigerian Ministry of Finance. He remembered the name of this place, symbol for him of exchanges and negotiations.


The idea is to facilitate credit
by creating trust »


My task is to provide public or private credit insurance companies with the systems that allow them to carry out their work from A to Z and to communicate with their customers. It turns out that my family has been in the credit insurance business for three generations, since my grandfather Jacques Benoist d’Anthenay was one of the founders of the historic SFAFC (French insurance company for the promotion of credit).

The idea is to facilitate credit by establishing trust. What is the principle ? In exchange for taking out insurance, the credit insurance company lifts the risk for the lender or creditor, whether it is a bank or a company that has to sell on credit to another company.

Since the establishment of very strict rules that apply to banks with regard to the solvency of their customers and the supervision of the loans they can provide (Basel 1, Basel 2 and Basel 3 agreements, introduced in order not to reproduce the banking disaster of 2008) , the banks have become very strict (although with some flexibility in Africa) in terms of loan conditions, while in addition they do not lack financial capacity…

APP – How to accurately lend money to SMEs in Africa ?

Emmanuel PEZÉ – The stakeholders of the last G7 had planned to provide a loan of 300 billion dollars over ten years to Africa. Very good, but how will the money really reach those who make the economy and can only develop it, namely VSEs and SMEs ?

In order to provide money to those who are likely to develop their small businesses, they are generally asked – when they are banks – for guarantees. These are often mortgages. When they are public companies, we also conduct investigations to get more information. The problem with Africa, however, is that 65 % to 70 % of business conducted in the informal sector, under the banks’ radar, that there is little financial information and that businesses are not used to obtaining financing from banks.

See the paradox: There is a lot of money available to develop VSEs and SMEs, but no way to send it to them safely. Unless – thanks to a credit insurance company – we obtain a guarantee, the principle of which is very simple: if your customer does not pay you, defaults or does not reimburse you, it is the insurance company that reimburses up to 90 %. The credit insurance company provides this missing element: confidence, it adds confidence to the economy.


At the time of the Covid crisis,
France was left without a credit insurance company »


APP – Give us some examples…

Emmanuel PEZÉ – I will take two historical examples.

1/ The French economy at the end of World War II had the Marshall Plan to rebuild roads, railways and insure war damages. Very good, but we often forget to say how it went for companies. France – and this is why Thirty glorious – were credit insurance companies whose names are still known today, such as SFAFC or COFACE, that provided guarantees. It was crucial.

2/ The second example is both present and African. South Africa is now back on a good economic footing, but above all it is the only country in Africa that has at least three credit insurance companies providing private guarantees in the South African market, with its neighbors and abroad.

The first is CGIC (Credit Guarantee Insurance Corporation), which has 70 % of the market, the second Hollard and the third Lombard, number one in bail in the country. And there is also an Export Credit Agency (ECIC), a kind of arm under the Ministry of Trade and Finance that especially guarantees projects in its neighbors.

South Africa is therefore equipped and even overequipped with guarantees and credit insurance… On 22 September I attended the CGIC Annual Congress in Johannesburg and it was striking to see how local businesses are supported by their insurance companies – loans that accept Take a risk.

Because the big disease in this sector is the credit insurance company, which no longer wants to take risks. 25 years ago it was believed that a credit insurance company had to repay at least 50 % of the premiums he charges. A credit insurance company compensates a lot, otherwise it is not trustworthy. Because if he doesn’t compensate, as a consequence of the risks he accepts to bear, what’s the point ?

APP – And how is the situation in France today ?

Emmanuel PEZÉ – In France, SFAFC was bought by the Germans and became Allianz Trade, COFACE is now owned by Arch, a foreign investment fund, and there is Atradus. (ex-Gerling Namur) very active in France, but which now belongs to the Spaniards in Credito Y Caution.

At the time of the Covid crisis, France found itself without a national credit insurance company to support French companies. And this absence has also led to the creation of a new company, which is called Cartan and started last January. This is proof that credit insurance is an essential tool for the development of an economy.

But aren’t you first and foremost a man of the field ?

Emmanuel PEZÉ – That is absolutely correct. Me, when I go to Africa, I go into the field because you can’t assert the business interest of a product like this without talking directly to the people involved. I am therefore speaking to the Departments of Trade and Finance, to private insurers to raise their awareness and to point out that there is a huge market for short-term credit insurance that can be underwritten in Africa, particularly for domestic risks, and that significant reinsurance capacity is also available in Africa.

But there are often blockages at the level of the political authorities. Why South Africa is doing so well ? This is because there are effective private initiatives. I also noticed this last July in Nairobi (Kenya) at the Congress of African Insurance Companies where there were more than a thousand of us.


We are preparing a trip
in French-speaking Africa »


APP – Isn’t it a fun job ?

Emmanuel PEZÉ – Credit insurance is one of the insurance companies that requires the most advanced tools. TINUBU has invested 22 years to develop tools that are in “ i-cloud » and we can say that our company had the idea of ​​« i-cloud ” before “ i-cloud » ! With these tools available right on a laptop and a dozen guys who understand the business, you can start a credit insurance company. Our systems are sophisticated – that’s true – but our systems have been adopted by all the major private insurance companies in the world, especially the American ones that are particularly discerning like AIG (American International Group).

APP – Let’s go back a bit to the origin of TINUBU…

Emmanuel PEZÉ – The company was founded in the year 2000 by my brother Jérôme PEZÉ, who at the time was commercial director of the credit insurance company Euler and had just met Olivier Placca two years earlier. The latter was then one of the managers of Expérian in France, and took care of the digitization and online placement of the database of the French commercial register.

They teamed up and launched TINUBU. At the start there were five of them and today we are 170, including 120 at our headquarters in Issy-les-Moulineaux in the Eqwater Tower. We have a team of 70 computer engineers here, all credit insurance specialists, who develop and work on our systems.

In this sector, we are the only company in the world that has invested so heavily – at least 20 % of our turnover every year for twenty years – to develop its skills and increasingly relevant and sophisticated systems. We are therefore today a recognized and undisputed leader in this market. We have also developed our surety business and, in the US, 70 % of “ leap », the bonds that are issued are issued through our systems.

And 30 of the top 60 credit insurance companies in the world are our clients. This gives you an idea of ​​the impact of our business !

Based in Paris, we have offices in New York, Orlando, Montreal, Singapore and London, but not yet in Africa…

APP – What are your next trips to Africa ?

Emmanuel PEZÉ – On the 15th of November I will be back in Johannesburg for Extred Africa, an event dedicated to export credit agencies, and I am sure I will meet many French speakers there, as in Nairobi. Next January and February we are going on a major tour of several French-speaking African countries with Olivier Placca, with stops in Abidjan, Dakar, Cotonou, Lomé and Yaoundé.

In all these countries, we want to provide systems that work and, above all, give them the opportunity to pursue an independent economic policy and thus send funds to local companies. The idea is to give these different African countries, and especially SMEs, a tool that will allow them to develop. Because credit insurance is the pillar without which, despite all the massive investments in the world, you cannot sustain a modern economy.




CMAAP 6, November 9: “ AFRICA-EUROPE: what progress towards stronger economic cooperation ? » REGISTRATION OPEN


See the REPLAY of our CMAAP 5 of October 6, 2022 here:



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