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IFC and Leadway Vie Partner to Expand Access to Life Insurance to Women in Côte d’Ivoire

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Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, January 26th, 2021— IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and insurance company Leadway Vie Côte d'Ivoire today announced a partnership to increase access to life insurance for women in Côte d'Ivoire and create jobs for women as insurance brokers in the country.

Under the partnership, IFC will help Leadway Vie Côte d'Ivoire, a subsidiary of Leadway Assurance Limited Nigeria, develop an insurance strategy and products tailored to Ivoirian women. Currently, only 2 percent of women in Côte d'Ivoire have life insurance, leaving millions of women-headed families at potential risk.

IFC will also work with Leadway Vie to increase the number of women they employ as insurance agents, creating jobs and also helping boost the uptake of insurance among women.

According to the International Labor Organization, 20 percent of Ivorian households are women-headed. These women tend to be more vulnerable to physical and financial shocks and often have limited access to coping mechanisms. With proper insurance, they could better protect themselves, their families, communities, and society.

Tiornan Coulibaly, Managing Director of Leadway Vie, said, "Because women are essential drivers of our economy, contributing to their financial empowerment and social protection is a priority for Leadway Vie. We are, therefore, working with IFC to introduce products and distribution strategies specifically designed for women to help them mitigate the daily risks they face and giving them greater access to financial protection mechanisms."

Olivier Buyoya, IFC's Country Manager for Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, and Mali, said, "Through this partnership, IFC and Leadway Vie will implement an inclusive insurance program that will empower women and generate positive impacts on how women work and protect their assets, helping stabilize their income and ultimately create the conditions that can help to alleviate poverty."

Women will represent a $1.7 trillion opportunity for the insurance industry globally by 2030, according to  IFC's report  She for Shield: Insure Women to Better Protect All. Over half of this growth is expected to come from emerging markets such as Côte d'Ivoire, where women are projected to represent an estimated $31.2 billion market for life insurance by 2025.

The partnership between IFC and Leadway Vie Côte d'Ivoire is partly funded by the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi), which invests in programs and projects that help unlock financing to address women entrepreneurs' barriers. We-Fi has allocated $249 million in financing to reach over 114,000 women-owned SMEs in 50 countries.

About IFC

IFC—a member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work in more than 100 countries, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in developing countries. In fiscal year 2020, we invested $22 billion in private companies and financial institutions in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit

About Leadway Vie

Leadway Vie Cote d'Ivoire is a subsidiary of Leadway Assurance Company Limited Nigeria, also known as Leadway, one of Nigeria's largest insurance companies. It commenced business in 1971 in Nigeria and began operation as a direct motor insurer. It expanded into other areas of general business until it became a composite company underwriting both life and general insurance business. The Company also offers subsidiary financial services like Bond, Secured Credit, Miscellaneous financial losses, and Fund/Portfolio management. It also offers savings, investments, annuities, and pension facilities. Leadway Nigeria generated US$238 Min premiums in 2018 and is a former IFC equity investee (US$13.3 M, 2007). Leadway Vie entered the Ivorian market in 2018 by acquiring a local company already well-positioned in the insurance sector in Côte d'Ivoire. It is a digital life insurance company offering savings products at no extra cost and products for education, retirement, and death.


About We-Fi

The Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) is a collaborative partnership among the 14 governments that have made financial contributions, six multilateral development banks that serve as implementing partners, and other public and private stakeholders. We-Fi was formally established in October 2017 as a Financial Intermediary Fund hosted by the World Bank. We-Fi invests in programs and projects that help unlock billions of dollars in financing to address the full range of barriers facing women entrepreneurs—increasing access to finance, markets, technology, and mentoring, while strengthening policy, legal and regulatory frameworks. As one of the We-Fi Implementing Partners, IFC supports private sector clients with investment and advisory services to expand financial services and market access for women-owned/led firms, as well as increasing the capacity of women entrepreneurs to run high-growth businesses. For more information, visit

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