The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Executive Secretary, Her Excellency Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax, has commended the African Risk Capacity Group (ARC) for the cooperation that continues to exist with SADC in a number of areas of collaboration, both at the national and regional levels.
H. E. Dr Tax said this during a virtual meeting with Mr Ibrahima Cheikh Diong, the new United Nations Assistant Secretary General and Director General of the ARC, on 7 December 2020.
The cooperation between SADC and ARC is guided by a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in October 2019. The MoU provides for a number of areas of cooperation focusing on, among others, broadening Disaster Risk Financing in policy frameworks, vulnerability assessments and building capacity for disaster risk financing and early warning to enhance preparedness and sharing of data and information to enhance lessons learnt among SADC Member States.
H.E Dr Tax highlighted that the SADC priorities as outlined in the Revised Regional Indicative Strategy Development Plan (RISDP) 2020-2030 focus on Industrialisation and Market Integration, Infrastructure Development in support of regional integration and Social and Human Development that is to be built on a firm foundation of Peace, Security and Democratic Governance, and supported by cross-cutting issues of gender, HIV and AIDS, climate change, education and disaster risk reduction, and that these should form the basis for the continued collaboration.
The SADC Executive Secretary welcomed Mr Diong to SADC, congratulated him on his appointment as the new Director General of the African Risk Capacity Group, and assured him of SADC's support. She pointed out that SADC Secretariat enjoyed cordial relations with his predecessor, and looked forward to the continued cooperation.
Mr Diong thanked Dr Tax for the warm welcome and assured her of the ARC's and his personal commitment to work with SADC on the existing areas of cooperation as well as on new potential areas of collaboration to strengthen the existing partnership between the two parties.
He pointed out that the ARC, as a Specialised Agency of the African Union, was established to help African governments to improve their capacities to better plan, prepare, and respond to extreme weather events and natural disasters. The agency is a cooperative mechanism providing risk profiling, layering and quantification, early warning, operational planning for early response and disaster risk financing to enable African countries to strengthen their disaster risk management systems and access rapid and predictable financing when disasters strike.
Mr Diong further highlighted that the ARC's area of focus has expanded beyond food security and vulnerability to include tropical cyclones and outbreaks and epidemics and in this regard Madagascar and Zimbabwe have already benefitted from ARC group's risk financing.
The Executive Secretary was accompanied by Mr Alex Banda, Executive Assistant to the Executive Secretary, and Mr Duncan Samikwa, Senior Programme Officer Food Security and Agriculture, while Mr Diong was accompanied by Mr Lesley Ndlovu, Chief Executive Officer, ARC Ltd, Ms Eva Kavuma, Chief Operating Officer, ARC Agency, Mr Francois Kayitakire, Research and Development Director, Ms Lucy Nyirenda, Head of Government Services, ESA region, Mr Timothy Gotora – Country Engagement Manager ESA region, Mr Koffi Konin, Country Engagement Manager ESA region, Mr Chinedu Moghalu, Communication Advisor, and Mr Simon Pierre Diouf, Communication Officer.