Government has signed a Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with the African Risk Capacity (ARC), an agency under the African Union to help respond to natural disasters in the country.
The agreement was to renew the ARC programme work plan, which will help the country to improve upon its responses to extreme weather events and natural disasters and prepare government to purchase sovereign insurance for smallholder farmers.
Mr Kwaku Agyemang Kwarteng, the Deputy Minister of Finance signed the agreement on behalf of Ghana while Mr Beavogui Mohammed, the Director General of ARC signed for ARC.
The agreement under consideration for the country are drought, flood and disease outbreak and epidemic. The proposed coverage area of the country’s ARC insurance are Northern Region, Upper East Region, Upper West Region and parts of the Brong-Ahafo Region.
Mr Kwarteng in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Accra said “the MoU marks Ghana’s subscription to home-grown African initiative to improve the capacity of its members to respond to risk and disasters associated with unforeseen circumstances.”
Giving details about the ARC, Mr Kwarteng said the country joined the ARC programme by signing the established agreement on January 28, 2016 and the MOU on June 2016, and signed the first programme work plan in 2017 for a duration of two years.
He stated that, the country has completed the drought customization using the Africa Risk View (ARV) and developed a draft contingency plan, adding that, the country is in the process of ratifying the establishment agreement to take advantage of the benefits of the ARC programme.
Mr Kwarteng, announced that the ARC Ghana structure has been reorganized, explaining that the old structure had both the programme supervisor and the Government Coordinator in the Ministry of Finance, but with the new structure, the government coordinator has been moved to the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) .
Mr Kwarteng said government has signed various policy initiatives to improve the welfare of the citizenry and achieve the level of development required to lift millions of Ghanaians out of poverty.
The Deputy Minister stated that, in spite of these positive initiatives, the country was faced with challenges like climate risk, which was a threat to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals.
He said the country recognized the vulnerability to climate risks and the challenges presented for economic development, adding that, “we are aware of the occurrences of seasonal flooding that affect our cities and agricultural activities with its toll on life and property”.
Mr Mohammed on his part, said ARC had developed a comprehensive package, which combined early warning information through ARV with an insurance mechanism that objectively and rapidly triggers pay-outs that were linked to pre-defined contingency plans to reach affected households.
“This according to him does so through ARC Limited, a Mutual Insurance company owned by its African government members and capital contributors, the Germany and the UK Governments,” he said.
He said Ghana is piloting the ARC flood model, being tested as a dry run, and if the results prove to be successful, the country would be able to get insurance against river flooding in 2020.
Mr Mohammed said the commitment showed by Ghana represented a testimony of enormous trust an intensive start of work and commended the country for protecting its economic gains to innovative mechanisms.
“The effort of Ghana has triggered a round table discussion on disaster to support knowledge change in collaboration with the University of Ghana, hoping the agreement will deepen fruitful relationship between Ghana and ARC members”.
Mr Eric Nana Agyeman Prempeh, the Director-General of National Disaster Management Organization said the benefits of ARC to the country include timely release of funds in the event of drought, building the resilience of smallholder farmers, climate change adaptation measure, and social safety net for the vulnerable.
The ARC was established in July 2012 at the African Union Summit by the African Heads of States. It is a continental sovereign risk pool and early response mechanism designed to execute pre-approved contingency plans in the event of severe weather disasters.
However, only 34 African Union Member States are signatory to the ARC treaty.