The Federal Government of Nigeria and its counterparts across Africa, have been called to start looking at climate change and it’s devastations from a much larger perspective and evolve National Risk Management policies to secure people’s lives and livelihoods.
Some insurance and financial experts made the call during a panel discussion on the “role of insurance in actualising sustainable future”.
The session was part of activities at the Continental meeting of insurance executives in Lagos aimed at deepening insurance penetration in all African nations.
Sharing their thoughts on the topic, the experts remarked that the impact of climate change in Africa is huge and include frequent flood disasters, loss of biodiversity, extreme hot weather and food insecurity.
They noted that more worrisome is that there are no working structures on ground to manage risks, except in South Africa where the government there has domesticated a national risk management framework to take care of environmental and social issues.
Speaking, the Senior Manager, Risk Regulation at Financial Sector Deepening Africa (Fsdafrica) Dr. Elias Omondi submitted that every African nation should develop a risk management policy that will provide guildelines for effective management of environmental risks.
Dr. Omondi pointed out that Fsdafrica is currently working with three countries in Africa, namely Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya to assist them in developing risk management framework, in addition to helping some states in the continent tackle climate disasters.
One of the states is Lagos where the organistion is supporting in flood control.
According to Dr. Omondi, ” One of the key things that we have come to know in the course of the discussions is that risk is a reality. There is need to actualize essential components that will drive proper ways of managing risks.
” It will give insurance companies direction in bringing services to manage risks such as climate change, loss of biodiversity among others. We need policies, as a guilding components in managing risks. One of the key things spoken about is the need to have a national risk management policy in Nigerian. That will provide some form of leadership, guidelines to provide direction. It will define ways in which operations are managed from risk perspective
” Currently, the country that has developed policy on risks that come from environment is south Africa. They have domesticated it.
” We are working in three countries including Nigeria to support integration of the policy in environment and social governance. We are also working with Kenya and Ghana. In the next couple of months,we hope to have a draft in these countries.
” We are funding and providing assistance to the industry;Provide them technical assistance .We have a number of projects. In Lagos , we are working with government on prodiving assistance in flooding”, he said.
The discussants centered their contributions towards realising “the Nairobi Declaration on sustainable Insurance”.
The Declaration calls for immediate action on policies to support research, review of planned development, strengthening of on- going environmental conservation measures and cancellation of international debt as well as revision of trade policies to enable African countries apply their resources to adjusting to climatic change”.
In line with that, Mr Lesley Ndlovu Chief executive officer , Africa Risk capacity; Rashidat Adebisi, a client officer And Adetola Adegbayi, an Executive Director of a leading insurance company, all said that their organisations would no longer provide insurance covers on projects that are not environmentally friendly.
They also advised governments on the need to structure markets and other social institutions, so that they can be captured by insurance companies, to secure them against eventualities like market fire, building collapse and others.
The event was organised by Fsdafrica and UKAID in partnership with National Insurance Commission.
It was aimed eliciting discussion on making Insurance work in Africa and make economies more resilient.