, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 26 – African Risk Capacity (ARC), a specialised agency of the African Union, has appointed Nigeria’s Finance Minister Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to serve as the first chair of its governing board.
Okonjo-Iweala is a renowned economist who has been in the limelight in the continent since 2007, after she was considered as a possible replacement for former World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz.
She also became one of three candidates in the race to replace World Bank President Robert Zoellick at the end of his term of office in June 2012.
However on April 16, 2012 it was announced that she had lost her bid for the World Bank presidency, to the US nominee and the current boss Jim Yong Kim’s.
ARC, which has had African Union Specialised Agency status since late last year, is a pan-African financial climatic disaster risk management agency breaking new ground by supporting African states to mitigate the severe social and economic impacts of extreme weather conditions through a structured insurance system.
Using innovative technology that relies on satellite weather surveillance and software, ARC provides scientific data predict and determine the severity of extreme weather events, enabling African governments to plan for emergency situations, manage them more efficiently, greatly reduce response time, and ensure sufficient distribution of resources to disaster areas.
Kenya is among the nine African countries which have signed up for the risk pool. Others include Malawi, Niger, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Lesotho, Swaziland and Mozambique.
“Not only can we predict extreme weather conditions, with a well- managed risk fund we are prepared to address them and ensure that the most vulnerable people in our communities receive protection,” Okonjo-Iweala explained in her acceptance speech.
Twenty-two member states of the African Union signed a treaty to create ARC.
She said the goodwill already exhibited by African governments will be key to ensuring the climate risk the continent faces is controlled so that it does not negatively affect economic growth and social development.
Partners who supported the creation of the ARC Agency include The Rockefeller Foundation, the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development.