GOVERNMENT and the African Risk Capacity (ARC) have combined forces in a bid to mitigate the effects of natural disaster risks.
BY SILAS NKALA
This was recently disclosed by Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa during a disaster risk financing and management workshop in Harare.
“It is my government’s wish to participate actively and on a long-term basis in this pan-African solidarity initiative to help us finance part of our huge risk to disasters, especially drought,” Chinamasa said.
This comes in response to natural disasters in Zimbabwe that have been eroding decades of economic and development gains.
Most recently, the ARC found that the El Nino drought of 2016 left the majority of the country’s populace food insecure.
ARC reported that the 2016 drought was also followed by devastating floods in 2017, which displaced thousands of people, burst 70 dams, and swept away five bridges on major highways which necessitated the policy’s on natural disaster risks.
The workshop drew participants from government, various development partners from the United Nations agencies and the private sector.
ARC urged government to protect its population and economy from the impact of natural disasters, such as drought and river flooding, by transferring its disaster risk to the organisation’s continental drought risk pool.
ARC Insurance Company Limited chief executive officer Dolika Banda thanked the government for its continued engagement.
“ARC is ready to work with Zimbabwe in building the necessary capacity required to create awareness on disaster risk, and to help the country benefit from cost-effective financing tools and packages, which will help to protect vulnerable populations from natural disasters,” she said.
Zimbabwe was among the first countries to sign the ARC Treaty in 2012, followed by agreements to start technical collaboration between ARC and government.
ARC Agency was established in 2012 as a specialised agency of the African Union to help member states improve their capacities to better plan, prepare and respond to weather-related disasters.
ARC consists of ARC Agency and ARC Insurance Company Limited (ARC Ltd).