Saturday, June 11, 2011

Insurance for rural Africa

The Financial Reports on a former employer of mine in a worthy venture: Swiss Re announced today at the Forum for Agricultural Risk Management conference that it is joining Oxfam America and the World Food Programme (WFP) as a Founding Sponsor of the R4 initiative and exclusive re-insurance sector member of the Strategic Advisory Board.

This is a ground-breaking new initiative to help poor rural communities protect their crops and livelihoods from the impact of climate change. Under the agreement, Swiss Re is committing USD 1.25 million to the project over five years in Ethiopia and three other countries.

The rural resilience initiative R4 addresses the needs of smallholder farmers facing climate change shocks by promoting a robust adaptation framework that integrates physical disaster risk reduction and affordable risk transfer solutions. The project offers insurance-for-work activities intended to reduce farmers’ vulnerability to droughts. It operates in conjunction with the Ethiopian government’s existing social safety net programme to make insurance more affordable for the rural smallholders it serves.

…R4 is based around the idea of managing four risks - community risk reduction, productive risk taking, risk transfer and risk reserves. As the only commercial re/insurance company on the R4 Strategic Advisory Board, Swiss Re will lead the design and implementation of innovative risk transfer solutions.

The R4 initiative builds on the success of the Horn of Africa Risk Transfer for Adaptation (HARITA) project in Ethiopia, where Swiss Re has been working with Oxfam America and others since 2008 to provide weather insurance to poor farmers through an innovative scheme. Within two years, the project increased the number of households taking out insurance policies from 200 to over 1,300….

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