The African Risk Capacity (ARC) Group is comprised of ARC Agency, a Specialised Agency of the African Union founded in 2012; and ARC Insurance Company Limited (ARC Ltd), a hybrid mutual insurer and the commercial affiliate of the Group founded in 2014.
ARC Agency was established to help African governments improve their capacities to better plan, prepare, and respond to natural disasters triggered by extreme weather events, as well as outbreaks and epidemics. On the other hand, ARC Ltd offers complementary risk pooling and risk transfer services. Together, the two provide Member States with capacity building and contingency planning services, access to state-of-the-art early warning systems, and risk pooling and transfer facilities towards building resilience against natural disasters such as droughts and tropical cyclones. In the process, the Group strives to apply gender equality principles and achieve inclusivity in the programme to ensure that no one is left behind.
ARC seeks to promote a proactive approach to Disaster Risk Management because as currently structured, the international system for responding to natural disasters is not timely or equitable. Funding is secured on a largely ad hoc basis after a disaster, significantly delaying much-needed relief to affected populations. In the meantime, lives are lost, assets are depleted, and development gains suffer major setbacks – forcing more people into chronic destitution and food insecurity.
An African Solution to Disaster Risks
ARC offers an African solution to one of the continent’s most pressing challenges, climate change, transferring the burden of climate risks away from governments - and the farmers and pastoralists they protect – to ARC to manage the risk. This African-owned, AU-led financial entity uses Africa RiskView, an advanced satellite weather surveillance and software developed by the UN World Food Programme (WFP) to estimate the level of damage from a disaster, and trigger readily available funds to African countries to enable response. Pooling risk across the continent is a financially viable solution which could significantly reduce the cost of emergency contingency funds on countries while decreasing the reliance on external aid.
By merging the traditional approaches of disaster relief and quantification with the concepts of risk pooling and risk transfer, ARC provides a pan-African disaster response system that enable governments to meet the needs of those affected in a timelier and more efficient way. The ARC solution is an important step in creating a sustainable African-led strategy for managing extreme climate risks and disease outbreaks.