Business Development

African Risk Capacity appoints Jennifer Blanke into its board

The African Risk Capacity Insurance Limited (ARC Ltd) has appointed Dr Jennifer Blanke to its Board of Directors.

Dr Blanke was, until recently, the Vice-President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development of the African Development Bank Group, based in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, where she was responsible for overseeing the strategy, lending and programming for a significant share of the Bank’s activities.

Welcoming Dr Blanke to the ARC Ltd Board, Mr. Abdoulie Janneh, the interim Chairperson of ARC Limited Board, said, “Since inception, we have always attracted world class professionals to our Board in our progression to become the development insurance partner of choice in the provision of innovative disaster risk management solutions for climate resilience in Africa. Jennifer Blanke brings valuable credentials which will be leveraged to produce even stronger outputs for our Member States.”

Before joining the AfDB, Dr Blanke served as Chief Economist of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Geneva where she oversaw economic activities and analysis in addition to representing the WEF on key global economic issues (with a focus on economic development and inclusive growth). Prior to that she worked as a management consultant in the banking and financial sector for Eurogroup (Mazars Group) in Paris.

The performance culture and integrity of any organisation is set by the tone of its Board members; therefore, we believe that Jennifer’s remarkable experience and multisectoral expertise will complement the existing strong technical expertise of our Board and staff as we seek to diversify risks and deepen our operations to provide broader coverage for ARC member states”, said Lesley Ndlovu, the CEO of ARC Ltd on Dr Blanke’s appointment.

Commenting on her appointment, Ms Blanke said “I am delighted to join the ARC Ltd Board and to lend my support to make ARC a fully viable African finance institution in the support of African development. I am convinced that ARC’s work is paving the way for a much more sustainable approach to disaster risk management across Africa.”

Blanke holds a BA in International Relations from Hamilton College; a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University; and a PhD in International Economics from the Graduate Institute, Geneva.

In just over 6 years of operations, 56 policies have been signed by the ARC Member States with USD 83 million paid in premiums for cumulative insurance coverage of USD 641 million and the protection of 64.1 million vulnerable population in participating countries.

From this, ARC Ltd made $60m payouts to Governments of Senegal, Mauritania, and Malawi following droughts episodes in 2014, 2015, and 2019. These funds have gone towards assisting over 2, 480, 500 million people whose livelihoods rely on agriculture, preventing the loss of hard-earned developmental gains in addition to 1, 295, 189 livestock.

Governments have used ARC Ltd funding to scale up cash transfers, subsidize livestock feeds, replenish depleted food reserves, and distribute emergency food supplies.

This is in addition to payouts of USD 2,13 million made recently to the Republic of Madagascar to cover 600,000 vulnerable population; and $1,755,890 to Government of Zimbabwe and WFP to support over 500,000 people affected by the drought in 2019/2020 agricultural season in both countries.

The ARC Ltd is a financial affiliate of the African Risk Capacity (ARC), which is a Specialised Agency of the African Union established to assist member states in tackling the impact of natural disasters on vulnerable people. ARC transfers the burden of weather and other natural disaster risks away from governments, enabling them to build resilience and better plan, prepare, and respond to extreme events. Seeded by the UK’s DFID and Germany’s BMZ through KFW, ARC Ltd is a mutual insurance company that will eventually be wholly owned by African sovereigns.

The appointment took effect on July 6, 2020, and will run for a tenure of 3 years.

About the author

Byron Adonis Mutingwende