On March 8, 2022, In honor of International Women’s Day, the World Bank Group's (WBG) Disaster Risk Financing and Insurance Program (DRFIP) hosted a webinar “Women in Risk Finance” to celebrate and learn from female leaders who champion financial resilience towards climate disasters and other shocks in Africa. The event served as a platform for these leaders to discuss the challenges, opportunities, and successes they have experienced in advancing the Financial Resilience agenda in their countries.
The webinar session commenced with opening remarks from Jean Pesme (Global Director, Finance Competitive & Innovation [FCI] Global Practice, World Bank Group [WBG]). Evie Calcutt (Financial Sector Specialist, Crisis and Disaster Risk Finance [CDRF], FCI Global Practice, WBG) delivered a framing presentation on WBG’s experience of deepening financial protection for disasters in Africa, with the program currently supporting 20 countries. After the framing presentation, there were four lightning presentations providing country-specific case studies and experiences facilitated by Barry Maher (Senior Financial Sector Specialist, Eastern/Southern Africa, FCI Global Practice, WBG) followed by a Q&A session to address the questions of the participants.
(1) Anthea Stephens (Climate & Sustainability Lead, Cities Support Programme, National Treasury, South Africa) highlighted that while National Treasury has transparent and sophisticated budgetary mechanisms to mobilize resources to respond to shocks, they tend to rely on reallocations which disrupt the budget. Moving forward National Treasury is considering expanding their suite of risk financing instruments and developing a national disaster risk finance strategy.
(2) Maleshoane Lekomola-Danziger (Budget Controller, Ministry of Finance, Lesotho) highlighted the acute challenge disasters present to Lesotho and its budget given it is a small state exposed to drought. Moving forward the Government is focused on improving liquidity and access to finance constraints for the vulnerable to strengthen financial resilience at the macro and micro levels.
(3) Isabel Joy Ochieng (Senior Economist, Financial and Sectoral Affairs, Directorate of Budget, Fiscal and Economic Affairs, The National Treasury, Kenya) presented the journey of the government of Kenya in understanding their disaster risks, setting their strategic priorities within a disaster risk financing strategy and implementing this through specific instruments.
(4) Hope Murera (Managing Director, Zep-Re [COMESA Reinsurer]) presented the role of the private sector in supporting financial resilience, including through World Bank operations.
The webinar was facilitated by Kaavya Krishna (Senior Financial Sector Specialist, FCI Global Practice, WBG). The webinar concluded with closing remarks from Douglas Pearce (Practice Manager, Easter/Southern Africa, FCI Global Practice, WBG). The virtual event brought together over 80 participants from client countries, international organizations, private sector companies, non-governmental organizations, and academia.