African Risk Capacity’s Outbreaks & Epidemics Insurance Takes Off

ARC launched in Accra

ARC launched in Accra

Accra, September 18, 2017//-African Risk Capacity (ARC), a specialised agency of the African Union (AU) to help Member States better plan, prepare and respond to weather-related disasters has introduced a project dubbed- ‘Outbreaks & Epidemics Insurance for African Governments’.

The groundbreaking new project which was launched in Accra, Ghana over the weekend, is Africa’s maiden own sovereign insurance product to help protect the continent’s populations against disease outbreaks and droughts.

Hosted by African Risk Capacity (ARC) and Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), this launch and the related technical workshop will build the foundation for ARC’s parametric insurance product that will aid in curbing the extent of, and the damage caused by, outbreaks and epidemics of diseases such as Ebola and Marburg, senior officials of ARC, CDC and other partners told journalists at a press conference.

The project being piloted in Uganda is expected to implemented across the continent in late 2018, according to them.

The Leader Advisor for Outbreak and Epidemic at ARC, Robert Kwame deGraft Agyarko explained that building on its existing infrastructure, ARC is introducing the sovereign and parametric insurance product as part of an Outbreak & Epidemic (O&E) insurance programme.
The programme, he said seeks to establish a cost-effective capital that can be rapidly deployed, incentivise countries to acknowledge O&E, facilitate better health systems and preparedness by linking payouts to pre-prepared response plans, among others.

Mr Agyarko disclosed: “ARC intends to build a customized response system for each country that joins the program, providing home-grown, rapid, and precise service capable of saving lives and protecting the livelihoods of millions of people across the continent”.
How ARC works

Mr Agyarko noted that, “ARC works with countries to reduce the risk of loss and damage caused by extreme weather events affecting Africa’s populations by providing sovereign disaster risk insurance and other support, including capacity building, contingency planning, and access to early-warning technology”.

He added: “ARC plays an important role in responding to countries’ needs at times of crisis by providing fast access to funding for pre-agreed-upon, rapid response plans developed in conjunction with governments. ARC’s financing complements other forms of local and international support”.

“In just the few years since ARC began, it has proved to be an effective and vital model – paying out USD $34 million to four countries (Senegal, Niger, Mauritania, and Malawi) affected by drought events. These resources provided assistance for over two million people and approximately one million cattle. ARC is now using its experience to help tackle another of the continent’s great threats by creating outbreak and epidemic (O&E) insurance”.

Contingency measures

Touching on contingency measures, Dr Alozie Ananaba, Managing Partner at Health System Consult Limited (HSCL), a Nigerian-based health and development consulting firm dedicated to providing cutting edge solutions to the health and development ecosystem, said the ARC is working with in-country technical experts in emergency and social safety nets.
According to him, the ARC Capacity Building Programme explores existing contingency funding mechanisms in the country that could be implemented by the ARC and support scale up of existing social protection programmes.

The launch in Accra brought together experts, officials and government ministers from across Africa to build the core foundations for this project, including establishing parameters to determine which disease pathogens should be covered under the insurance.

Instructively, the threat of outbreaks and epidemics (O&E) of infectious diseases like Ebola and Marburg pose an increasing danger to the health of African people, as well as to the continent’s security, economies and political and public order.

Africa continues to be a continent severely at risk. The African Ministers of Finance called on ARC to create an insurance product capable of financing efforts to contain outbreaks in Africa, so that the problem that be confronted before it reaches a devastating scale.

Hence, ARC was established in 2012 as a Specialised Agency of the African Union (AU) to help Member States better plan, prepare and respond to weather-related disasters.

By Masahudu Ankiilu Kunateh, African Eye Report


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