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Building Disaster Resilience in Sub-Saharan Africa Program: Result Area 5 (2018 – 2019 Activity Report)

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1. Introduction

Tropical cyclone Idai, which made landfall in March 2019 near the port city of Beira in Mozambique was the most severe natural disaster to affect southern Africa in over three decades, causing catastrophic damages in towns and rural areas in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe. The same region was affected a few weeks later by tropical cyclone Kenneth, causing more damages and further affecting these populations. Tropical cyclones Idai and Kenneth are a reminder of the vulnerability of Sub-Saharan African countries to disaster events. It is also a reminder of the need to find innovative and sustainable solutions to tackle the impact of natural disasters, including by developing specific instruments for risk management and financing of disaster shocks.

Launched in 2015, the ADRF Initiative is one of the first Program in Sub-Saharan Africa to focus on the Disaster Risk Financing (DRF) agenda. Activities have now been undertaken in over 20 Sub-Saharan African countries to develop and implement financial protection policies and instruments which are tailored to the local context and that can help these countries quickly respond to disasters while building resilience to future events.

In 2018-2019, the ADRF Initiative has continued to carry-out activities related to gathering and developing disaster risk information, which is a critical step to inform governments’ assessments and decisions when developing DRF policies and instruments. A practical application of this work was also demonstrated when risk data created under the ADRF Initiative was used to conduct rapid assessments in Mozambique and Malawi following tropical cyclone Idai, helping to inform the postdisaster and recovery process.

Engagements to support policy dialogue and capacity building on DRF have continued, and are generating best practice examples through wide-ranging activities and in a variety of sectors, from designing national DRF strategies, developing financial protection policies and instruments, supporting agriculture insurance programs, to building shock-responsive safety nets. This technical assistance implemented under the ADRF Initiative has also led to further investments from the World Bank and other donors on DRF and Disaster Risk Management (DRM) in several Sub-Saharan African countries, underscoring the added-value and long-lasting impact of this Program.

Furthermore, as interest about DRF continues to grow in Sub-Saharan Africa, it has become increasingly important to collect and share lessons learned, and to enable capacity building opportunities on this topic. The ADRF Initiative has continued to organize knowledge exchanges and trainings which contribute in building DRF capacity among governments of Sub-Saharan Africa. Over 80 of such knowledge exchanges and trainings have been organized since Program inception. In addition, the regional knowledge sharing activity Open Cities Africa supported by the ADRF Initiative continued to contribute in 2018-2019 to building a cross-continental community of practice on open risk data which has materialized into meaningful actions and results.

After several years of implementation, the ADRF Initiative highlights the sustained demand for support and drive by Sub-Saharan African countries to work on the DRF agenda. This Activity Report sets-out how the ADRF Initiative has continued to implement important DRF activities and to work with Sub-Saharan African countries in finding innovative solutions to meet their DRF needs in a variety of sectors and contexts.