Drought Image (Supplied)
The devastating crisis in Madagascar sounds a stark warning of the need to take urgent action for Africa according to Ibrahima Cheikh Diong, Director General of the African Risk Capacity Group.
“Drought may well be the next pandemic after COVID-19 and there’s no vaccine to cure it.” If the words of Mami Mizutori, the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction don’t compel us to take immediate action, Africa will continue to bear the scars of barren wastelands caused by climate change-induced drought. Southern Africa, East Africa, the Horn of Africa and now Madagascar are just the start. The short-term solution to building resilience requires a multi-faceted approach involving both private and public sectors, says Diong.
“Our affiliate, ARC Ltd, which recently received a BBB+ Insurer Financial Strength rating from Fitch, works with governments, NGOs and funders to provide customised parametric insurance. This empowers African governments and NGOs to respond swiftly to natural disasters on the continent, but there’s a lot of work that needs to go into building distribution networks to ensure that we can reach as many people as possible. We need to build a coalition of the private and public sector,” Diong adds.
While governments are key in dealing with resilience to climate change, it’s the ability of the private sector to take action that will make all the difference, he says.
“Partnerships should extend beyond governments. The private sector is an essential partner for leveraging funding and experience demonstrates that private-sector entities are capable of rapidly taking up opportunities when and if these make sense from a business angle.”
There are several examples where a collaborative approach is already working well. Diong cites ARC Group’s partnerships with organisations such as the Start Network and World Food Programme (WFP), and funders such as the German Development Bank, UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and African Development Bank which are working to provide that resilience for African countries.
Shifting the disaster risk architecture
Emily Jones, as Climate and Disaster Risk Financing Advisor for WFP, highlights the challenges of convincing authorities to be more proactive than reactive when preventing human suffering and hardship when events like drought occur.
“Unfortunately, no one person or organisation can make the necessary shift alone. Change starts with building resilience and insurance plays a significant role in that, particularly in climate change,” says Jones.
Governments pay a premium every year and receive their agreed-upon pay-out if and when a predicted disaster occurs. “This money can then be used to help those people affected, with the remainder of the pay-out going towards covering other consequences that might not have been expected, such as conflict or a loss of progress in terms of important local development projects,” she says.
“Humanitarians are working on highlighting the need to predict crises and act before they manifest in an effort to avoid human suffering. After all, why wait if you don’t have to?”
Jones speaks about how most authorities in African countries perceive insurance as a gamble when it should rather be seen as a risk management tool. Unfortunately, many simply don’t have the necessary tools available to plan, which is where ARC comes in.
“It’s amazing that ARC Limited is offering this type of insurance. However, insurance is really only cost-effective for catastrophic events that happen infrequently – perhaps once every 10 years – and if the governments that they’re selling the insurance to don’t have other solutions, they’re going to be taking out insurance that’s less than optimal,” Jones explains.
“So, something that WFP, ARC, and the African Development Bank wants to work on in the coming years is a risk-layering approach. This would involve introducing other tools for coping with those medium-scale events so that we can optimise ARC and hopefully offer better products, as well as ensure improved buy-in, a greater understanding of the products’ importance, and a track record of success,” she adds.
Responding swiftly to natural disasters
Since ARC Limited was established in 2014, the company has paid out $65-million in drought-relief efforts to seven different countries.
“In particular, the collaboration between the African Development Bank and ARC shows how coming together makes a major difference. In 2020, the ARC drought-relief pay-outs to Zimbabwe, Madagascar and Côte d’Ivoire totalled $6-million,” says Diong.
Madagascar received a payment of over $2,1-million, which was allocated to food assistance for 15,000 households, nutritional support to 2,000 children and 1,000 pregnant and breastfeeding women, and water supplies to over 84,000 households.
Reaching the most vulnerable, however, is difficult, adds Malvern Chirume, Chief Underwriting Officer ARC Limited. “One of the big challenges is access to the final customer, bearing in mind that most of our beneficiaries of the programmes are small- to medium-scale farmers and therefore it’s not cost-effective to access them one at a time.”
With climate change, we can expect extreme weather events to hit harder and more frequently in coming years. In a 1.5 degree warmer world, there is no doubt that drought will be a more regular event.
The GAR Special Report on Drought 2021 launched earlier this year is a call to action: we must act now if we are to meet the goals of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and create a safer, more resilient, risk-proofed future for all.
“Drought is not something that hits us suddenly, nor something that we can quarantine our way out of. Drought manifests over months, years, sometimes decades, and the results are felt just as long. Drought exhibits and exacerbates the social and economic inequalities that are deep-rooted within our systems and hits the most vulnerable the hardest,” says Chirume.
“While we may not be able to prevent it, we can certainly be prepared to deal with its impact by building resilience and providing swift support to those who are left vulnerable.”
LEAP Africa and DOW Partner to Activate Youth Action for Sustainable Development Across Africa
LEAP Africa, one of Africa’s leading non-profit organization focused on youth leadership development and Dow, a global leader in materials science, are pleased to announce the fourth edition of its Pan-African ‘Youth Day of Service (YDoS)’ campaign, a youth-led social impact campaign with the theme – Youthful and Useful.
Scheduled to be held till August 31, 2023, Youth Day of Service is a month-long campaign that seeks to foster the spirit of service to community and volunteerism among the youth population in Africa with focus on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This campaign which is in commemoration of the International Youth Day seeks to rally young people, corporate organisations, Governments, the Private and Social sectors across Africa to advocate and renew the spirit of active youth citizenship and collective responsibility.
Speaking at the Pan-African Press Conference and Stakeholders Engagement, Kehinde Ayeni, Executive Director LEAP Africa said: “One of our strategic pillars at LEAP Africa is to raise talents for the actualization of the SDGs. This campaign is a demonstration that LEAP Africa remains committed to youth-led actions for Sustainable Development across Africa. We believe in the power, voices, numbers and agency of young people and that an urgent commitment to creatively engaging with youth, creating platforms such as this and retooling youth with the skills and support to shape SDGs implementation across the continent, is the greatest need. We cannot do this alone, therefore we are fostering partnerships to bring the achievement of the goals closer.”
In her remarks, Mumbi Keega, Public Affairs Lead-Africa, Dow, said, “Dow is committed to fostering positive change and building resilient and sustainable communities in Africa. We believe that this can only be achieved by working together with the African youth, who are vital to promoting social welfare. Through our partnership with LEAP Africa, we are supporting the Youth Day of Service (YDoS) initiative, which empowers young people to use their skills and talents to make a difference in their communities. We are proud to be a part of YDoS and to support the next generation of African leaders who are working to create a more sustainable and equitable future for all.”
Chege Ngugi, Africa Regional Director of ChildFund International in his remarks called for increased investment by governments and other stakeholders in youth development programs. “While many laudable initiatives, such as national youth funds exist, there is still a dire need to do more to ensure all youth, given the huge number, are adequately resourced to achieve their best potential, no matter where they are from. We must move beyond giving the youth a seat at the table to investing in them to use that seat for good. The youth must be enabled to act as equal partners of positive social change.”
Emerging Leaders Foundation-Africa one of the implementing partners for the Youth Day of Service, represented by Caren Wakoli the Founder and Executive Director lauded LEAP Africa for investing in this initiative for the second year in Kenya. Caren noted that ELF-Africa had lined up week-long community activities across nine counties, addressing five different SDGs. She further re-affirmed ELF-Africa’s commitment to championing transformational youth action in Kenya and Africa for a sustainable future. Caren concluded by calling on young people and grassroot organisations across Kenya to join the different Youth Day of Service activities in counties near them, especially the nine counties where ELF-Africa will be working, these are Migori, Bungoma, Narok, Kericho, Uasin Gishu, Murang’a, Makueni, and Kilifi.
This year, LEAP Africa will be leveraging the support of strategic partners like ChildFund International, Emerging Leaders Foundation, BellaNaija, Forgotten Bottom Millions, Legit, Zikoko Citizen, W4 Immerse, Dotts Media, African Climate Reality Project, Strategic Youth Network for Development Ghana, Youth Development Organisation Zambia and Global Shapers Community, among others, in delivering the Youth Day of Service.
Miss Career Africa: Empowering Young Female Entrepreneurs in Africa
Miss Career Africa Women (Image: Supplied)
Recognizing the need to empower aspiring young female entrepreneurs in Africa, the Miss Career Africa Organization (MCA) was established. The MCA program aims to uplift young women professionals, entrepreneurs, and students by offering university scholarships, career guidance, entrepreneurship incubation, leadership training, and networking opportunities.
The Miss Career Africa competition is a transformative experience for aspiring young women entrepreneurs from across the continent. With a vision to create a movement of 450,000 young women entrepreneurs and professionals across Africa, MCA aims to empower these trailblazers to become influential leaders in their respective countries.
Each year, 20 exceptional candidates aged between 18 and 24 years are selected from hundreds of applicants based on their projects or businesses and specific criteria. These talented young women then compete for the title of “Miss Career Africa.” The journey to the crown begins with a pre-selection and online voting process. The finalists undergo a rigorous 5-day boot camp, where a team of experts helps them refine their ideas into viable and scalable business models.
The Grand Finale features a distinguished panel of judges from different countries and disciplines who will crown winners in various categories, including Miss STEM, Miss Arts and Talent, Miss Hospitality, Miss Agriculture, Miss Conservation, and Miss Speaker, as well as regional winners representing the Southern, Northern, Central, Eastern, and Western regions. Prizes for the winners include seed capital, a six-month incubation training period, and continuous guidance and follow-up support to help them turn their dreams into reality.
Meet the Visionaries
Hail from Rwanda, Sandrine Munezero is a true innovator. As an entrepreneur, innovator, and business modeling coach, she has dedicated her life to helping the next generation create their own opportunities by harnessing their talents and gifts. Sandrine’s unwavering passion drives the growth of Miss Career Africa across the continent. She holds a Master’s degree in Human Resources Management from St. Joseph’s College in India and a Bachelor’s degree from Bishop Heber College in Trichy, India.
Passionate about empowering girls and young women, Portia Addae Annin is a force to be reckoned with. Her exceptional motivation and commitment to excellence have led her to serve in various prestigious positions. With a Master’s Degree in Economics from Bangalore University in India and a background in Economics and Business Management from the University of Cape Coast in Ghana, Portia brings a wealth of expertise to the organization.
OSNON Academy Announces Scholarship Opportunity for the 2023/2024 Academic Year
OSNON Academy is delighted to announce its exclusive scholarship opportunity for the upcoming 2023/2024 academic year, dedicated to students from low-income families, and marginalized communities. This prestigious scholarship aims to provide the selected exceptional students with a world-class education that has the power to shape their future.
Under the “Innovation and Excellence” banner, OSNON Academy is passionately committed to nurturing young minds and unlocking their full potential. As the premier free boarding school in Anambra state, OSNON Academy is devoted to transforming talented young individuals into the leaders of tomorrow.
This scholarship opportunity is specifically tailored for parents, guardians, and school students who aspire to receive an outstanding education that paves their path to success. By applying for this scholarship, students will have the remarkable chance to benefit from OSNON Academy’s innovative and well-rounded learning experiences.
“We firmly believe in providing students from low-income families, marginalized communities, and vulnerable backgrounds with a transformative education that not only equips them with academic knowledge but also instills core values and unlocks their potential,” said Onyinye Anyaegbu, Chief Executive Officer, Chude and Ego Foundation. “Our ultimate goal is to create thought-provoking and valuable members of society who will positively contribute to their communities.”
Interested parents and guardians are encouraged to pick up the application forms for their ward(s) today at one of our designated locations to seize this incredible opportunity. These forms will be the crucial first step towards a life-changing educational journey. The dedicated team at OSNON Academy is readily available to assist with any questions and provide comprehensive guidance throughout the application process, ensuring a smooth and supportive experience.
Take advantage of the chance to join OSNON Academy and join a community fostering excellence, innovation, and personal growth for a successful future!
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