The West African Health Organization (WAHO) and the African Risk Capacity Agency (ARC) sign a partnership agreement to strengthen epidemic preparedness and response capacities in ECOWAS Member States – Benign


Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso – Johannesburg, South Africa | February 28, 2022 – The West African Health Organization (WAHO) and the African Risk Capacity Agency (ARC) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding establishing a collaborative framework to support Member States of the ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) to better prepare, plan, and respond to epidemic outbreaks with the greatest impact in the region.

Under this agreement, WAHO and the ARC Agency will join forces and leverage their individual expertise to estimate in each ECOWAS Member State the probability of occurrence and severity of an epidemic for certain viral diseases of hemorrhagic fever – such as Ebola, Marburg, Lassa fever – and meningitis; develop realistic and costed outbreak response scenarios based on country risk profiles; conduct disaster risk financing diagnostics at national and regional levels to assess the mechanisms and amount of funds available to rapidly respond to an outbreak; collaborate with Institut Pasteur de Dakar, Africa CDC, WHO and other institutions to develop state-of-the-art epidemic risk models to assess epidemic risks and improve decision-making; encourage countries to develop disaster risk financing strategies; and support the design of the ARC/AU Sovereign Risk Transfer solution for outbreak and epidemic risks to protect the government budget against fiscal shocks.

Speaking during the virtual signing of the MoU from ARC Agency Headquarters in Johannesburg, UN-ASG Ibrahima Cheikh Diong, ARC Group Chief Executive, said that “Our strategic partnership with WAHO, the leading health institutions in the ECOWAS region, is fully in line with our search for smart partnerships with global and African organizations and complementary to our efforts to build a framework to ensure the resilience against epidemics and health emergencies in our Member States, through collaboration at the technical, financial and political levels.

ARC Group’s Epidemics and Epidemics program was built on its sovereign parametric risk insurance model which has delivered impressive and life-saving results against drought and tropical cyclone for participating African countries. Targeting 4 diseases with epidemic potential, including acute haemorrhagic fevers (Ebola, Marburg and Lassa fever) and meningitis, it aims to equip AU Member States with a range of preparedness tools and outbreak response (risk profiling, risk modelling, contingency planning) combined with tailored financing options, to contain and rapidly stop the spread of outbreaks.

From Bobo-Dioulasso, Professor Stanley Okolo, the Director General of WAHO, welcomed the partnership with the Specialized Agency of the African Union, the ARC Group, specifying that “Such collaboration will aim to strengthen the health security program in a region prone to epidemics of different frequency and severity”.

Notes to editors:

About the West African Health Organization (WAHO)

The West African Health Organization (WAHO) is the Specialized Institution of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) responsible for health issues. Its mission is to achieve the highest possible level and the protection of the health of the peoples of the sub-region through the harmonization of the policies of the Member States, the pooling of resources, and cooperation between them and with other for a collective and strategic struggle. against health problems in the sub-region.

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About the African Risk Capacity (ARC) Group

The African Risk Capacity (ARC) Group consists of ARC Agency and ARC Limited (ARC Ltd). The ARC Agency was established in 2012 as a specialized agency of the African Union to help Member States improve their capacities to better plan, prepare for and respond to weather-related disasters. ARC Ltd is a mutual insurance company providing risk transfer services to Member States through risk pooling and access to reinsurance markets. ARC was created on the principle that investing in preparedness and early warning through an innovative financing approach is highly cost effective and can save up to four dollars for every dollar invested ex ante. .

With support from the United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Canada, France, the European Union, the Rockefeller Foundation and the United States, ARC helps States AU members to reduce the risk of loss and damage caused by extreme weather events. affecting the people of Africa by providing, through sovereign disaster risk insurance, targeted responses to natural disasters in a more timely, cost-effective, objective and transparent manner. ARC is now using its expertise to help tackle some of the other most significant threats facing the continent, including floods, disease outbreaks and epidemics.

Since 2014, 62 policies have been signed by Member States for a cumulative insurance coverage of US$720 million for the protection of 72 million vulnerable populations in participating countries.

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Twitter: @ARCapacity


West African Health Organization | Email: [email protected]
Simon Pierre Diouf | Communications officer | African Risk Capacity (ARC) Group | Email: [email protected]
Molalet Tsedeke | Media Coordinator | Directorate of Information and Communication, African Union Commission | Email: [email protected]


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