Insure citizens against disaster risk, states told

Wednesday April 27 2022
A flooded street in Pemba, Mozambique.

Neighbours chat while sitting in a flooded street in Pemba, Mozambique. The Africa Risk Capacity (ARC) was created by the African Union to help countries build disaster management capacities and interventions. PHOTO | EMIDIO JOZINE | AFP


Humanitarian crises that follow natural disasters in Africa are avoidable if governments insured their citizens instead of dashing for aid from western countries, the Africa Risk Capacity (ARC) has said.

The body created by the African Union to help countries build disaster management capacities and interventions says lack of planning has subjected millions of Africans to pain and exposed the continent to shame as images of suffering people are used to beg for aid.

ARC chief executive Lesley Ndlovu says that while the severity and frequencies of climate change-related disasters is growing across the continent, penetration of insurance against these events is low.

“We are providing coverage to about 30 million people per year but then the number of people in Africa who need insurance coverage is closer to 700 million,” says Mr Ndlovu.

Speaking to The EastAfrican last week, Mr Ndlovu said only 13 African countries have taken up insurance covers against natural disasters. Overall, 35 countries have signed a treaty that allows them to be members of ARC.

While ARC targets to cover about 200 million Africans by 2027, it observes that political goodwill will be key to have more vulnerable populations access aid in times of disasters.


ARC was established in 2012 but it has had a difficult time convincing governments to take up insurance covers. Mr Ndlovu noted that the Horn of Africa particularly has been left behind, with governments shouldering the burden when tragedies occur or rushing to seek aid internationally.

Kenya, which had taken up a cover between 2015 to 2017, no longer pays premiums despite having completed a national disaster management plan.

All the other East African countries are not members of ARC.