At the 37th Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Heads of State Summit, Mr Akinwumi Adesina, the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), encouraged the leaders of Southern African countries to join him in his efforts to increase access to African Risk Capacity’s disaster risk financing facilities.
“Africa can no longer suffer in silence,” Mr Adesina said. “I ask that the Heads of State of the SADC region support my call for the Green Climate Fund and the Global Environment Facility to co-pay for disaster risk insurance premiums for all African countries, to the African Risk Capacity facility.”
Highlighting the importance of agriculture and its untapped potential in the region, Mr Adesina urged SADC Heads of States to support the growth of the agricultural sector by protecting it from the impact of climate change. “Agriculture is not a way of life and it is not a development activity. Agriculture must be treated as a business for wealth creation. Africa must feed itself, instead of spending $35 billion a year importing food.”
Along with AfDB funds to support drought-afflicted countries, Mr Adesina included premium support to African Risk Capacity as one of the ways AfDB can help African states to mitigate the impact of climate change and rising food prices on food security for the rural and urban poor. “The African Development Bank is ready to co-pay for insurance premiums for African countries, so let’s start this with SADC region.”
Earlier this year, AfDB and African Risk Capacity formally joined forces to help build the capacity for member states to understand of the value of risk transfer tools, develop adequate risk financing infrastructure, and embed risk management in national plans.
During the Summit, SADC Heads of State addressed the issues of food security and disaster risk insurance, urging SADC Member States to explore risk insurance options for disasters and extreme weather events related to climate change, such as the facilities offered by the AfDB.
The Summit also acknowledged that the overall food security improved for the 2017-18 harvest season, compared to the preceding years of drought in the Southern Africa region, and encouraged SADC Member States to reap the benefits of a good year by taking steps to improve storage facilities and set up contingency plans to manage disaster risk before natural hazards can affect livelihoods.
The 37th SADC Heads of State Summit echoed the conclusions reached from the Disaster Risk Management and Financing Workshop for SADC Member States held earlier in the month. The workshop convened representatives from ministries focused on disaster management, food security, and climate change to discuss national methods of managing disaster risk, explore the regional disaster risk financing landscape, and share knowledge and experience between SADC Member States.
The work between AfDB, SADC, and African Risk Capacity highlight the fruits of continuing collaboration between African institutions to develop sustainable solutions to regional problems. The 37th SADC Heads of State Summit stands as an assertion of the issues to address, the joint efforts made so far, and the forthcoming work of building a climate-resilient Africa together.