ARC Targets 30 African Countries | Independent Newspapers Limited
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ARC Targets 30 African Countries

Posted: Jul 16, 2015 at 12:10 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

African Risk Capacity (ARC), an African Union agency, is targeting total membership of more than 30 African countries over the next four years so that the continent will not have to rely on donors totally in emergency situations.

In its first year of operation, ARC insured Niger, Senegal, Mauritania and Kenya for $129 million in total losses, and paid out $26.3 million after three West African states suffered low rainfall.

The agency hopes to add five countries this year, expanding its client base to nine nations, and plans to offer insurance for tropical cyclones and floods from May next year.

Specifically, ARC expects Burkina Faso, Malawi, Mali, Gambia and Zimbabwe to join, with coverage set to rise to $192 million.

Until now, African nations have totally relied on donors to provide a rapid humanitarian response to food crises caused by extreme weather events such as drought.

ARC’s key aim is to build the ability of African states to prepare for and respond to climate-related disasters themselves, changing the norm where most relief aid bypasses the government.

ARC also believes it can help U.N. agencies like the World Food Programme and aid charities by offering them insurance against extreme weather events in African countries.

It is hoping to receive backing from a new initiative announced by Group of Seven (G7) leaders in June, which pledged to insure up to 400 million more people in developing countries against climate risks by 2020.

Richard Wilcox, a leading founder of ARC, said that target could be met “if the G7 translate their commitment into real action”.

“In Africa, the capacities, technology and national demand are in place to reach $1 billion in coverage by 2020,” he said in a statement.

That could double if the G7 initiative encouraged the global aid system to participate in climate risk insurance, he noted.

Young noted that the British and German governments had already provided interest-free loans to help set up ARC.

“Most of the African sovereigns are limited in how much they can afford to pay in premiums and how much capacity they have to distribute a payout – as we have learned this year – so anything that can help on either of those sides is where we want to have the G7 focus,” he added.