Dec 19, 2014, 1:14 PM
The permanent secretary of the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Water, Wildlife and Fisheries, Ousman Sowe, on behalf of The Gambia government, has renewed the Memorandum of Understanding with the African Risk Capacity (ARC), represented by its Guinean Director General, Mohamed Beavogui.
The ARC is a specialised agency of the African Union, and the event took place on 23 January 2015, during the fourth session of the Conference of Parties (CoP 4) held at the Africa Union Commission in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
PS Sowe was accompanied to the Addis Conference by Amie Kolleh Jeng of the Budget Directorate at the Ministry of Finance, Malang Jatta at the Office of the President, and Mawdo Jallow the NDMA URR regional coordinator, who also doubles as the government coordinator for the ARC in The Gambia.
The renewed MoU was aimed at continuing collaboration on natural disaster risk financing between the Gambia government and the ARC.
The ARC provides participating member states with weather-index insurance, transferring natural disaster risk away from governments and the vulnerable households whom they protect, to the ARC, enabling them to build resilience and better plan.
The renewed agreement is to continue the comprehensive collaborative programme, which was first incepted in June 2014, when the Gambia government first entered into a similar MoU.
The ARC agency was established in 2012, following a decision by heads of state of the African Union.
The Gambia government was one of the founding member states, and has since driven the African Union’s most innovative venture in development finance, pioneering a transformative approach to disaster risk management.
The initial collaborative work resulted in the Gambia government purchasing a drought insurance policy from ARC’s financial affiliate, in 2015.
The Gambia government adopted a new model of innovative financing which is efficient, cost-effective and most importantly supports the livelihood of the most vulnerable in the event of a disaster such as drought.
The Gambia joins other African countries in this initiative and some have already seen the benefits of the new approach.
In May 2014, the ARC Insurance Company Ltd launched its inaugural risk pool in which four countries purchased drought insurance namely, Kenya, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal.
In January 2015, three of the four countries that formed ARC’s inaugural risk pool - Senegal, Mauritania and Niger - received a pay-out of over US$26 million from ARC Ltd as a result of a significant rainfall deficit in the Sahel.
The money was released well ahead of the international appeal for the region, and the funds were used to purchase livestock fodder and staples primarily from local producers and reached over half a million livestock and 1.3 million people who might have otherwise been forced to cut down on meals, take children out of school or leave their land.
At a time when The Gambia has been focused on transforming its agriculture sector, the government’s renewal of the MoU with the ARC serves to further reinforce its commitment to taking concrete measures and transformative solutions, which pave the way for a self-sufficient, resilient agricultural sector.
The ARC agency harnesses pan-African solidarity in approaching climate risk in a financially efficient way and the Gambia government has taken a leadership role in this initiative, relying on home-grown solutions, developed by Africa for Africa.