[Event Recap] DRF for Agriculture and Climate Resilient Livelihoods Workshop for Sub-Saharan African countries

Mar 20

In Sub-Saharan Africa, agriculture contributed 17 percent to GDP in 2022 and is therefore a crucial sector. Being predominantly rain-fed, the sector is extremely vulnerable to extreme weather. Limited financial resources to cope with and recover from the impact of climate shocks can destroy not just productive assets but entire livelihoods, ultimately resulting in poverty traps. Therefore, strong financial inclusion and protection strategies are key to building resilience for farmers and rural economies. 

In 2023, a knowledge series of 4 online webinars began focusing on disaster risk financing solutions for climate-resilient livelihoods in the agricultural sector. In the beginning of March, this culminated in the 4-day DRF for Agriculture and Climate Resilient Livelihoods Workshop in South Africa. The aim of the workshop was to deepen knowledge on DRF for agricultural livelihoods and to cultivate regional collaboration among practitioners, technical counterparts, and policymakers across Eastern and Southern Africa. The workshop, which was opened by Consulate Rusagara (Practice Manager, Finance Competitiveness and Innovation East and South Africa) and closed by Olivier Mahul (Practice Manager, Global Crisis & Disaster Risk Finance) brought together 32 senior technical government officials and private sector representatives from ten countries, namely, Eswatini, Kenya, Lesotho, Namibia, Rwanda, Somalia, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. 

On day 1, the workshop hit the ground running with the Master the Disaster game, a simulation game that puts participants in the place of key ministries of a government when disaster strikes, how will they react to save their ministries? The following session focused on choosing the right financial instrument, this decision is complex and there are many factors to consider. The day ended with presentations from all 10 countries, highlighting their current programs and strategies to strengthen financial resilience of agricultural households and businesses and what they aimed to accomplish through the workshop. This allowed all participants to know each other, fostering participants to interact and get to know each other for future collaborations. 

Building on the momentum from day 1, day 2 began with a panel discussion on facilitating scale-up and sustainability of DRF solutions. The expert panelists included Ms. Maleshoane Lekomola, Budget Controller for the Lesotho Ministry of Finance, Mr. Sammy Makove, Former Commissioner of the Insurance Regulatory Authority of Kenya, Ms. Sara Ahmed, Finance Advisor to the Vulnerable Group of Twenty (V20) Ministers of Finance of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (FCV), Ms. Sylvia Mwangi, DRIVE project manager at ZEP-Re in Kenya, and Mr. Jerry Gidion, Vice President Property & Specialty Underwriting, Swiss-Re Africa Limited. The panel was followed by an introduction to the World Banks’ Crisis Preparedness and Response Toolkit, and the Regional Emergency Preparedness and Access to Inclusive Recovery Program (REPAIR), new program for Southern and Eastern African countries. Later in the day, the participants attended deep dive sessions on crop insurance and livestock insurance, both of which included case studies of Kenya’s Area Yield Index and Index-based Livestock Insurance programs. The day came to a close with an overview of climate finance for agriculture value chains.  

Reaching the midpoint, day 3 took participants deeper into data and analytics; beginning with a practical discussion on the 50x2030 World Bank initiative to close the agricultural data gap, followed by presentation of the Next Generation of Drought Indices, a hands-on platform that can aid the countries in using the data they collected for better decision making. Most of the day was devoted to a session on institutional arrangements for agriculture insurance, highlighting the importance of public-private partnership (PPP) and listening to four case studies from different countries at different stages of their DRF journey: Uganda, Zambia, Mongolia, and Rwanda. Next up, there was a change of pace and content with a session on effective communication. This engaging and highly interactive session taught participants how to get their points across and deliver their ideas in an effective manner, taking their ideas further than before. The day ended with time for each country to use what they have learnt until this point to design or strengthen their DRF strategies depending on their context.  

On the final day, the Gap Partnership introduced the participants to the fundamentals of negotiation. The interactive session deepened the awareness of participants when coming up to a negotiation, the planning that needs to take place beforehand, the discomfort it can cause, and leveraging your assets. The session aimed to improve overall skills to influence stakeholders through strategic thinking, planning and effective negotiation.  

The participants also took part in networking sessions every day and social events that created stronger bonds, creating a solid foundation for collaborative efforts. Feedback from the evaluation form highlighted the main key takeaways as the vitality of data, the importance of PPP, and the criticality of networking and collaboration. The program was deemed extremely relevant to the operational work that participants worked on, with over 90 percent of the participants rating the workshop as a positive experience that they would recommend to their colleagues.  


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