Kenya seeks to tap AU drought insurance cover


National Drought Management Authority CEO James Oduor after the meeting on February 12, 2019. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA

Kenya plans to tap into a continental insurance facility to cushion arid and semi-arid areas (Asals) residents against the effects of drought and floods.

Speaking during the Africa Risk Capacity (ARC) board meeting in Nairobi, National Disaster Management Authority chief executive James Oduor said the National Treasury, working jointly with the World Bank, had formulated a disaster risk financing (DRF) strategy.

ARC is an African Union specialised agency that handles climate-related food security emergencies. The blueprint sets out the criteria for quantifying cost of disasters, co-ordinating response and mobilising funds to mitigate the long-term effects on Kenya’s economy, he said.

“The DRF strategy is being fine-tuned for submission to Parliament for approval; which will see us decide on the risks we want covered by ARC, which has potential to cover medium to high impact disasters.

“ARC has a wider geographical coverage compared to other DRF instruments with the potential to cover 23 Asal counties,’ he said.

Mr Oduor said Kenya was keen to tap into the ARC facility that also incorporates real time data on the weather, which informs mitigation measures needed to reduce impact of the disasters.

ARC director-general Mohamed Beavogui hailed the DRF strategy it would enable proper planning. “This platform gives Kenya a leeway to improve livelihoods of its people living in marginalised areas via a mechanism that assures them of swift response in case disaster strikes.

Mr Oduor said Kenya had since set up a technical working group that will look at the risks and have them customised to suit Kenya’s climatic conditions and agricultural practices.

“We are looking at all options before deciding on the kind of cover we need. We will take into account the season, choose counties to be covered, population as well as amount to be insured before deciding on the type of cover we need,” he added.

NDMA urged for premiums cut to promote uptake saying this hurt uptake of ARC’s products by African countries.