By Maureen Chigbo, reporting from Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire
THE African Risk Capacity, ARC, has held a two-day regional consultations workshop for member states from West and Central Africa in Abidjan, Cote d’ Ivoire on disaster risk financing. The workshop which began on Tuesday, September 17, ends Wednesday, September 18.
The workshop reflected on the ARC insurance programme and its relevance to the member States’ needs. In particular, the workshop sought the guidance of member States on new products and on critical partnerships. The outcomes of the consultations will inform the development of the ARC programme, with associated priorities, for the years to come.
At the opening ceremony, Eva Kavuma, ARC’s chief operating officer, who represented Mohamed Beavogui, director general of Africa Risk Capacity, stated the need for the consultations, which will enable the organization to come up with new products for disaster risk insurance in Africa. She emphasized the challenge the ARC is having getting member states to abide by gender agenda before they can have access disaster risk financing.
Eighty participants comprising ARC government coordinators, lead technical focal points, and contingency planning focal points, together with ARC strategic partners, including members of the media attended the workshop. Countries represented at the workshop have active memorandum of understanding, MoUs, with ARC. They are Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Chad and Togo.
Also participating are regional institutions such as the African Union, AU, the Economic Commission for West African States, ECOWAS, Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel, CILSS, African Development Bank, AfDB, non-governmental organisations, NGOs, and humanitarian community: START network, and the World Food Programme.
Karim Diarassouba, director of Insurance, represented the government of Cote d’ Ivoire, while Harsen Nyambe, head of Environment, Climate Change, Water and Land Management Division, represented the Department of Rural economy and Agriculture, African Union Commission at the workshop.
The participants, who attended the workshop, commended the organizers for the timeliness of the event. Assia Sibide, head, Government Services West and Central Africa, ARC, organisers of the workshop, said they expected to get feedback from member states that will enable the organization formulate new products.
“That’s why we have discussed programme cycle and implementation, disaster risk financing, communication and advocacy for member States. So far, we have got good feedback, especially with programme implementation we know the way to go,” Sibide told Realnews on the second day of the workshop.
One of the participants, Mawdo Amadou Jallow, government coordinator, African Risk Capacity and project manager, ADRIFI, Banjul, The Gambia, told Realnews that his expectations for the workshop was partially met. I was looking forward to hearing from other countries in terms of how to customize the AfricaRiskView software engine. I also expect to discuss The Gambia’s participation in the 2019 risk pool and also discuss with ARC about their engagement in country and how we can make improvement in our country’s expectation.
Said he: “Initially, I was expecting to make a case for Gambia for ARC to be more proactive in the country in terms of improving communication and expanding the technical working group, assisting in collecting data for customization of AfricaRiskView and above all to have a structured programme that is designed to rejuvenate the interest of the country in disaster risk insurance improvement.”
He suggested that contingency plans in countries should be revisited to accommodate gender issues and a refresher training for the members of the technical working groups.
According to him, the workshop is very necessary. “It is one of ARC’s greatest achievement because this is a platform to learn certain things that we don’t know about. It is a platform for cross fertilization of ideas,” adding that people have become more aware of what ARC is doing now than when it started.
While commending the organization of the workshop, Jallow suggested that ARC should continue to hold the workshop on an annual basis. He, however, suggested that the group work should be done on expert zones to be more effective.
Another participant from Guinea, Mamadou Tounkara, said in general he appreciated the organization of the workshop. But he said the topic the organisers developed is not in his area of competence. “I am a technician of the AfricanRiskView. I wanted to know how to use this software to detect flood disaster in Guinea. I have the access code, but it cannot open. Now I find that it is not the objective as it is focusing on disaster risk financing. But I have learnt new things about the financing and how to harmonise data that can be used to validate Africa RiskView on top of country mechanisms to measure drought related food insecurity.”
Realnews reports that the African Risk Capacity is a specialized agency of the African Union designed to help member States improve their capacities to better plan, prepare and respond to extreme weather events and natural disasters, therefore protecting the food security of their vulnerable populations.
By linking early warning systems with contingency planning and supported by modern financial mechanisms, ARC enables governments to provide targeted responses to disasters in a more timely, cost-effective, objective and transparent manner, thereby reducing response costs and loss of livelihoods.
The ARC Agency works to achieve this objective together with the ARC Insurance Company Limited, the financial affiliate of the ARC Agency, which pools risk across the continent through issuing insurance policies to participating member countries.
ARC Ltd has been offering drought risk insurance to member States since 2014. ARC currently offers a drought product but has a number of products in final stage of research and development, namely, a flood product, a tropical cyclone product, and an outbreak and epidemics product.
Africa RiskView, ARC’s proprietary weather modelling software, is the technical engine behind ARC and the tool provided to ARC member States to help them manage their weather risk and identify the appropriate amount of risk to transfer to the ARC risk pool. Africa RiskView also serves as an early warning tool, allowing users to monitor the agricultural season in near real time. West African countries have continued to show their commitment towards the ARC Agency and ARC Ltd, with new countries joining the Agency’s programme.
To date, the following countries have signed a Memorandum of Understanding and are at different stages of the ARC capacity building programme: these are Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Chad and Togo. In addition, ARC has developed critical partnerships in West Africa, namely with the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel, CILSS, and ECOWAS.
– Sept. 18, 2019 @ 18:39 GMT |