Nigeria’s Finance Minister & Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala was recently interviewed by CNN Marketplace Africa.
During the interview, she stressed the need for Africans and African governments to devise unique solutions to the continent’s problems. She cited the African Unions’ African Risk Capacity, a unique multilateral solution to mitigating the risk of environmental disasters on African economies as an example of how African governments are implementing innovative, home grown solutions. Typically, African countries are put under international spotlight during climate disaster situations depicting Africans as hungry and destitute.
The African Risk Capacity acts as an insurance agency by African nations for their fellow African countries that will ensure that African countries can fund African climate and environmental disasters instead on depending on aid from the international community.
Just like insurance companies work in the corporate world, member African countries pay a premium to the African Risk Capacity, such that when participating countries get a flood or drought, they are able to get insurance payments. For instance, if a country pays a premium of $3 million, during a disaster event, the country can get up to $30 million in insurance payments. The program provides weather based insurance mitigation for African countries. At present, 22 countries have signed up for the program.
Also, speaking on her long-term strategy for her country, Nigeria’s future economic success, the Minister emphasized the need for Nigeria to ensure that the country benefits from its demographic dividend by providing jobs for young people in sectors such as agriculture, a sector from which the administration aims to produce over 20 million metric tonnes of food by 2015. Nigeria is notably one of the largest importers of rice in the world despite the country’s capacity to produce all the rice it needs.
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