Zim to receive AU’s disaster risk funding

Over 3,000 families have been staying at Chingwizi transit camp since being displaced by flooding in Tokwe-Mukosi dam basin in Zimbabwe’s southeastern Masvingo Province in early February 2014Over 3,000 families have been staying at Chingwizi transit camp since being displaced by flooding in Tokwe-Mukosi dam basin in Zimbabwe’s southeastern Masvingo Province in early February 2014

Victoria Ruzvidzo 

Zimbabwe missed an opportunity last year to receive at least $10 million from the African Union’s Africa Risk Capacity for drought and flood mitigation programmes after it failed to pay a $500 000 premium to qualify.

But it could soon come back into the fold after ARC agreed on a five-year programme with the African Development Bank for the release of funds to help countries facing financial constraints.

Zimbabwe has already signed the agreement with ARC, but failed to raise the required $500 000 that would have unlocked at least $10 million.

Responding to questions here at the weekend, ARC director-general Mr Mohamed Beavogui said it was unfortunate that Zimbabwe failed to raise the money but was optimistic the AfDB would come to the rescue.

“It was unfortunate for your country (Zimbabwe) but we had done all the paperwork and the technical stuff, but it failed to raise the money. In Zimbabwe, fiscal difficulties have affected progress,” he said.

Malawi, for instance, paid a $700 000 premium and received $8,4 million to offset effects of drought.

Amounts that are disbursed vary depending on the needs of a country and its capacity to pay.

ARC is a risk-management and resilience-building platform that provides financial tools and infrastructure to help AU Member States manage natural disaster risk and to adapt to climate change.

Over the last few years, Zimbabwe and the entire region has suffered incessant droughts that have left millions of people in need of food aid.

Last year, President Mugabe declared a state of disaster following the El Nino-induced drought that ravaged the sadc region causing severe food deficiency in most areas. This opened up a channel through which donors could assist.

The rural people, many of whom rely solely on subsistence farming for their livelihood, are in need of food assistance and resources from ARC could come in handy.

Zimbabwe is among 32 African countries that signed the ARC treaty, and at least $30 million has been disbursed to countries in need.

ARC made its first pay outs in 2015.

Mr Beavogui said ARC and other interventions on the continent were more effective as opposed to international agencies that took between nine and 12 months to assist.

“The idea is to capitalise on risk spread. If we put our resources together we can intervene more effectively. We put a system together and come up with contingent plans for all member states. Africa was replete of risk management systems,” he said.

“Most countries only react when disaster happens, but we need to build national capacities to manage disasters more effectively. Let’s work together. I believe in the strength of Africans,” said Mr Beavogui.

For long, African countries lacked mechanisms to finance and respond to climate change more timely.

This scenario has resulted in loss of life, depletion of assets and a general erosion of gains that would have been made previously.

ARC says the continent will require between $15 million and $20 million annually up to 2050 for countries to adapt to a warmer climate.

Starting this year, the organisation will be providing Member States with adaptation funds should climate volatility increase.

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