The Actuarial Profession’s Growth in Africa

Insights from SOA President John Robinson, FSA, MAAA, FCA, in supporting the future of actuaries globally Andrew J. Peterson

The world we inhabit is a global village. This implies an interconnection between international growth and societal purpose—two strategic objectives targeted by the Society of Actuaries (SOA). In addition, companies, social benefits programs and national economies worldwide benefit from the financial stability gained from the skill sets and talents of actuaries. In pursuit of this global good, staff from the SOA International Department and two SOA board members, President John Robinson, FSA, MAAA, FCA,  and Nazir Valani, FSA, FCIA, MAAA, participated in events in Ghana and Morocco in 2022 to promote the profession and offer the SOA’s support.

John W. Robinson, FSA, MAAA, FCA

For two years during the pandemic, everyone was physically grounded and traveled the world via Zoom or Teams. But by mid-2022, our organization’s leadership was once again able to have a face-to-face presence in other countries to raise awareness about the SOA, explain our credentialing processes and show how we can adjust to a local context.

“I believe that every country on Earth needs fellows,” Robinson said. “The SOA is one of the few actuarial organizations that can help make this happen.” By accelerating the growth of the actuarial profession in other countries, the SOA also can demonstrate its societal purpose.

While these two events took place in 2022, this article helps provide context on key developments and how the SOA is working with other actuarial organizations to support the profession locally and globally. For additional information on the SOA’s strategic plan and the emphasis on member engagement and global efforts, see Robinson’s speech from the 2022 ImpACT Conference.

Championing Ghana’s Actuarial Profession

The SOA was one of the sponsors of the Sixth African Actuarial Congress, which met June 8–10, 2022, in Accra, Ghana. The Congress was a professional development event organized by the Actuarial Society of Ghana in partnership with the International Actuarial Association (IAA).

While in Ghana, Robinson and Valani met with local universities, regulators and employers, and they discussed the importance of supporting actuarial candidates. “In the United States and countries where the actuarial profession thrives, employers provide development programs,” Robinson said. “From our discussions, I am convinced that employer support is vital to growing the actuarial profession in Ghana, and I intend to use my influence as best I can to make progress in this area.” As the owner of a consulting firm engaged with international work, Valani shared a helpful perspective at the meetings.

Robinson also participated in a panel discussion at the congress, “Building a Profitable Annuity Portfolio.” Annuities are a relatively new product in Ghana, so he addressed some of the challenges annuity writers face when introducing a new line of business.

Celebrating a New Actuarial Science Program in Morocco

Mohammed VI Polytechnic University and the Moroccan Association of Actuaries (AMA) organized a workshop on June 23, 2022, to kick off a new actuarial science master’s degree program and highlight the need to continue developing the profession in Morocco through training and education. Gladly accepting an invitation to attend, the SOA delegation conveyed their support for the credentialling journey of Moroccan actuaries.

“The country is building a high-tech knowledge base through heavy investments in advanced education to support its industrial base,” Robinson said. “Their need for actuaries is related to their goal of modernizing their financial system.”

In keeping with this goal and emphasizing its general good, “Actuarial Science: From Training to Public Interest” was the workshop’s theme.

The university and the AMA collaborated to develop an executive program with an actuarial science curriculum based on the IAA’s Education Guidelines and Syllabus, and master’s program students will be able to take SOA exams. In addition, though Moroccan Arabic and French are the most common languages in Morocco, the university will teach the actuarial master’s program courses in English, in part to help prepare candidates for SOA credentialing exams.

“The presence of the SOA president-elect sent a strong reciprocal signal of our interest in Morocco,” explained Robinson.

The workshop brought together Moroccan and American actuaries to discuss collaborative efforts to reform local risk management models. While there, Robinson gave a presentation highlighting the actuarial profession in the United States, covering requirements, traditional and nontraditional actuarial roles, the U.S. regulatory environment and the SOA’s strategic plan.

As Worldwide Uncertainty Grows, So Does the Need for Actuaries

“Supporting the financial stability of millions of people—this is the contribution of actuaries around the world,” Robinson said. In the face of increasing risks globally, the need for the actuarial profession is growing and changing. By preparing actuaries to be business leaders who leverage data, technology and judgment to effectively respond to uncertainty, the SOA strives to fulfill its mission of inspiring solutions and advancing prosperity worldwide.

John W. Robinson, FSA, MAAA, FCA, is the president and chair of the Society of Actuaries. He also served as an SOA board member and has been an active volunteer. Before recently retiring, John was an actuary with the Minnesota Department of Commerce.
Nazir Valani, FSA, FCIA, MAAA, is an SOA board member and has volunteered on many SOA committees. Nazir is president and co-founder of Valani Global, a global actuarial consulting firm.
Andrew J. Peterson, FSA, MAA, FCA, is the managing director, International, at the SOA.

Statements of fact and opinions expressed herein are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of the Society of Actuaries or the respective authors’ employers.

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