African Risk Capacity (ARC), a Specialized Agency of the African Union, is an African-owned, index-based weather risk insurance pool and early response mechanism that brings together the concepts of insurance and contingency planning. It has operated a drought insurance mechanism since 2013. It is part of an overall movement in Africa to increase sovereignty in disaster and humanitarian response and reduce dependence on international actors at times of national emergency.
Stuart Coupe of IPE Triple Line participated in a 5 member Technical Review Committee at the West Africa office of African Risk Capacity, Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire from 26-30 March 2018. It follows on from Stuart’s 6 month consultancy with the programme in 2014 as part of a team supporting African governments to develop drought contingency plans.
The ARC strategy focuses on providing timely, appropriate, and transparent responses to disasters, improving outcomes through advance planning. The process of ARC eligibility involves two steps. First, countries must apply for a Certificate of Good Standing (CoGS) which includes the submittal of an operations plan that details the proposed activities to be implemented in the event of an ARC pay out. Once the CoGS is issued, a country can purchase insurance from ARC Ltd., determining the desired level of coverage and premium. The second step comes shortly before a likely ARC payout. At this time, the country must submit a Final Implementation Plan (FIP) that provides more detailed information on exactly how the payout will be deployed given the current emergency.
The Technical Review Committee (TRC) is a team of independent experts in drought related contingency planning, humanitarian response, and disaster risk management selected by ARC to review the country operational plans. The workshop brought TRC together with the ARC Country Representatives, who are government officials that coordinate the development of the plans, and the ARC Secretariat Contingency Planning team. This year the plans for review came from Mali, Senegal, Mauritania and Ghana, constituting the 5th pool of countries aiming to take out the ARC drought insurance. The countries clarified how the ARC would fit within their existing institutional and financial frameworks for disaster management. Examples of interventions proposed for resourcing by countries in case of a payout include subsidy of livestock feed and scaling up of existing cash transfer programmes.
The outcomes of the workshop were: rating of the Operational Plans, recommendations to countries on how to improve their plans, and recommendations to the ARC Board via the Peer Review Mechanism (PRM) on which countries should be issued a CoGS. The meeting proceeded according to plan, and the TRC has prepared its recommendations for the PRM which meets later in April.
For more information about ARC please visit http://www.africanriskcapacity.org
About the Author
Stuart has more than 16 years of experience in MEAL advisory services, project cycle management and capacity and coalition building between NGO staff, local and national actors in international development. He has extensive academic background in social sciences and is a published author on a range of development topics and methods. He has track record of excellent intercultural collaborations in Latin America, Sub Saharan Africa and South Asia .Prior to joining IPE Triple Line, Stuart worked as M&E Manager at HIH International where he led the strengthening of M&E in the Hand in Hand network of organisations.