WFP helps half a million people recover from loss and damage with climate insurance in West Africa

Source(s): World Food Programme
Drought in Somalia
Unicef Ethiopia / flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
ROME – The United Nation’s World Food Programme (WFP) is preparing to support 490,000 people in Burkina Faso, The Gambia and Mali who were impacted by drought in 2022. WFP has received US$15.4 million worth of insurance payouts from African Risk Capacity (ARC) Limited that will provide a cash transfer to affected people from March to May 2023, enabling them to recover from the impacts of drought, for example by buying food or supplementing incomes to avoid having to sell productive assets.
“Communities in Mali contribute very little to the climate crisis, yet the impacts are forcing them into a food crisis,” says Eric Perdison, WFP Country Director in Mali. “This funding will enable WFP to reach hundreds of thousands of food-insecure people affected by climate-induced negative impacts, with cash and nutrition assistance.”

Farmers in West Africa suffered losses and damages to their crops and livelihoods due to extensive drought impacting the 2022 agricultural season. This has knock-on effects throughout the region as food availability is reduced and prices soar. Climate insurance enables communities to recover from losses and damages, preventing them being pushed into hunger. 

The insurance scheme is part of the ARC Group – a specialized agency of the African Union that helps Member States manage climate and disaster risk. WFP is receiving payouts of US$7.2 million for Burkina Faso, US$187,600 for The Gambia and US$8 million for Mali. Assistance will also include nutritional support for children aged 6-23 months and pregnant and nursing women. 

“Thanks to support from Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, WFP has purchased insurance policies that enable us to work with local governments to minimise losses and damages caused by climate impacts” says Mathieu Dubreuil, WFP Head of Climate Risk Insurance. “We need to scale up such initiatives to protect more people on the frontlines of the climate crisis.”  

Since 2019, WFP has protected 4.8 million people in six African countries with insurance policies from ARC. To date, WFP has received eight payouts totalling US$25.4 million for five countries, which provided cash and food assistance, nutrition support and emergency asset creation to more than 790,000 people. 

"The cash transfer came at a moment when I had difficulty buying food. I live alone with the children and we needed to eat. So, I bought rice and millet”, said Aissé, a widow from Mali who received money from payouts for the drought in 2021.

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