In Africa, Burying the Dead Is Big Business

Funerals are lavish affairs and, often, a burdensome expense.

In Africa, funerals are a big deal and, often, a burdensome expense. As Reuters writes:

From fish-shaped coffins to slaughtered bulls, funerals in Africa are lavish affairs, providing a lucrative opportunity for insurance companies looking for business in some of the world's fastest growing economies.

 In South Africa, for example, average funeral can set a family back $3,000, more than double what the average non-farm worker makes per month. As a result, those who can afford it invest in funeral insurance. As one Johannesburg resident, who pays $64 a month for family funeral insurance, tells Reuters, "people think that if you want a small intimate funeral, you don't have money," adding, "they have that thing of proving people wrong, that 'I can afford to give my father or mother a big funeral.''"

While insurance providers in developed markets make most of their money on things like car or home insurance, funeral insurance ends up as one of the more lucrative policies a company can offer. Below, via Reuters, a look into the continent's lavish funeral culture: 
 
Bereaved relatives wait to pick newly built coffins from a roadside showroom in Nairobi May 20, 2013. (Noor Khamis/Reuters)
A street vendor passes a coffin made in the shape of a fish at the workshop of Kane Kwei in the Teshi area of Accra, May 16, 2013. (Luc Gnago/Reuters) 
Stanislas sits at his desk inside a shop that sells coffins and flowers, near the mortuary of Yopougon in Abidjan, May 22, 2013. (Luc Gnago/Reuters) 
A carpenter prepares to align a flower wreath on a newly built wooden coffin at a workshop in Nairobi May 23, 2013. (Noor Khamis/Reuters) 
A board displaying funeral services is seen on the doorway of a showroom for newly built wooden coffins in Nairobi May 23, 2013. (Noor Khamis/Reuters)
A coffin in the shape of a film projector is seen in the workshop of Kane Kwei in the Teshi area of Accra, May 16, 2013. (Luc Gnago/Reuters)
A carpenter puts the finishing touches to a wooden coffin at a roadside workshop in Nairobi May 20, 2013. (Noor Khamis/Reuters) 
Coffins in the shape of a hand plane and a fish are seen in the workshop of Kane Kwei in the Teshi area of Accra, May 16, 2013. (Luc Gnago/Reuters) 
A coffin in the shape of a film projector is seen in the workshop of Kane Kwei in the Teshi area of Accra, May 16, 2013. (Luc Gnago/Reuters)
Family members gather near a tomb as a man shovels sand onto a coffin during a funeral ceremony at a cemetery in Lagos May 31, 2013. (Akintunde Akinleye/Reuters)
Sculptures mounted on tombstones are seen at a cemetery in Lagos May 31, 2013. (Akintunde Akinleye/Reuters)

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