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African Union engages Malawi in disaster management

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The African Union (AU) says it will continue to help its members to better manage, plan and respond to disasters in a timely and efficient manner.

AU African Risk Capacity Director of Policy and Technical Services, Ekhosuehi Iyahen, said this on Friday during a sensitisation meeting in Lilongwe.

Iyahen said the AU is working with the member states to ensure that they have requisite capacity and information to be able to respond rapidly in risks management.

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“Malawi has been a strong member of ARC [African Risk Capacity]since 2012 when it signed the treaty at the AU level, and in 2015, government placed an insurance contract with ARC where it paid a premium to actually transfer a portion of drought risks specifically for climate impact on people and the cost to government,’’ she said.

Iyahen added that at the end of 2015/2016, Malawi received a pay-out portion of $8.1 million which went towards supporting a scale up of cash transfer programme to affected households as well as towards replenishment of strategic grain reserves.

She said ARC recognises the current constraints the government of Malawi is facing as a result of the impact and that it is actively working with the government and technical working groups existing in the country to help the people affected to access funding in good time.

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She commended Malawi for showing some tremendous skills and patience for proactively working with AU to find innovative ways to finance the response to disasters in the country.

Speaking in an interview Director of Planning Services in the Ministry of Agriculture, Alex Namaona, said the meeting enabled both parties to share information on what triggered the late payment of $8.1 million to Malawi in 2015/2016 season.

Namaona observed that some countries such as Mauritania got the payment in good time compared to Malawi.

He stressed on the need to analyse what went wrong for Malawi to receive the pay-out late so that next time when government decides to take insurance premium contract, it should utilise it in good time.

ARC is a specialised Agency of the African Union (AU) that is helping countries across Africa to prepare and respond to extreme weather events and protect food security for vulnerable populations.

It was established in 2012 by the AU and has since paid out $34 million to support communities in countries affected by drought like Senegal, Niger, Mauritania and Malawi.

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