Pooling Risk to Protect Against the Next Disease Outbreak in Africa

No one can predict the full impact of natural disasters or disease outbreaks. However, the events leading up to those disasters are predictable, to an extent. For example, heavy rains for weeks on end will likely lead to floods just as the lack of rainfall for a stretch of time will likely lead to droughts. One way to mitigate the impact of disasters is to have sovereign risk pool insurance policies in place.

Sovereign risk pool insurance links funds to early warning systems so that country governments can develop contingency plans for impending crises. The idea, here, is to share risk among countries and ensure speedier delivery of funds when disasters strike. 

In 2014, Africa dipped its toe into a sovereign risk pool insurance system in an effort to save time, money and lives in the event of a disaster. 

In the eyes of the Rockefeller Foundation, sovereign risk pool insurance not only mitigates losses when catastrophic events occur, but also enhances a region’s resilience to natural and manmade disasters, disease outbreaks and epidemics.

The foundation recently awarded the African Risk Capacity Specialized Agency of the African Union a grant of over $1.6 million to support the costs of developing and designing sovereign risk pool insurance policies for participating countries in the event of disease outbreaks and epidemics.

It's not surprising that Rockefeller is interested in this work. 

A few years back, the foundation announced its $100 million, 100 Resilient Cities Challenge. The purpose of the challenge is to better prepare cities around the world for acute shocks such as the effects of climate change, natural disasters and terrorist attacks, as well as chronic stresses like high unemployment, violence, and water shortages.

Related: Rockefeller Moves Forward with 100 Resilient Cities

What’s interesting about this latest give from Rockefeller is that it’s related to disease outbreaks and epidemics. The Ebola outbreak certainly shined a spotlight on West Africa’s failing healthcare infrastructure.