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African natural disaster insurance pool launched

The first ever African catastrophe insurance pool has been launched by the African Risk Capacity (ARC), a specialised agency set-up by the African Union to help member states become more resilient to extreme weather events and to protect food insecure populations, in light of climate change.

The ARC Agency has created a specialist hybrid mutual insurance company, ARC Insurance Company Limited (ARC Ltd), initially domiciled in Bermuda, to issue policies to a group of African governments, initially comprising Kenya, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger and Senegal. Germany and the United Kingdom contributed the initial capital and are also founding members of the mutual.

“The creation of the first ever African catastrophe insurance pool is a transformative moment in our efforts to take ownership and use aid more effectively. It is an unprecedented way of organizing ourselves with our partners, with Africa taking the lead – taking our collective destiny into our own hands, rather than relying on the international community for bailouts,” said Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, chair of the ARC Agency Board and Nigeria’s Minister of Finance.

The aim of the ARC catastrophe insurance pool is to reduce African governments' reliance on external emergency aid. Currently international assistance is secured through an appeals system and then allocated on a largely ad hoc basis once a disaster strikes. Consequently, African governments affected by disasters can be forced to reallocate funds from essential development projects to crisis responses, exacerbating problems in other areas of their economies.

http://www.africanriskcapacity.org

•Date: 16th May 2014 • Africa •Type: Article • Topic: DR general

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