ARC Replica

ARC Replica is run in partnership between Start Network, African Risk Capacity (ARC), African Union Member States, including the Government of Senegal and Zimbabwe, and the World Food Programme. It is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through the German Development Bank, Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) and the UK's Foreign, Development and Commonwealth Office.

Credit: Atmospheric Research CSIRO |


African Risk Capacity (ARC) is an organisation mandated by the African Union to help African nations proactively manage climate-related humanitarian risks through macro-insurance. The ARC Replica programme allows non-governmental organisations like Start Network to work side-by-side with governments to manage these risks.



How it works

African Risk Capacity's (ARC) member states can purchase 'parametric' insurance policies from ARC Ltd, which means that payouts are automatically made for pre-approved contingency plans when pre-agreed scientific triggers are met. Non-governmental partners like Start Network can then purchase a replica insurance policy to complement this approach to disaster risk management. 


Start Network and the World Food Programme were the first designated partners of the ARC Replica initiative in 2018. Start Network purchased its first ARC Replica policy to protect against drought in Senegal in 2019, alongside the Senegalese government.





Droughts are slow onset disasters. Yet, while it is possible to predict drought months in advance, the response is always reactive rather than proactive. Humanitarian assistance comes too late, often because funding hasn’t been put in place.



In July 2019, Start Network and the government of Senegal each purchased an insurance policy against drought. If rainfall levels dropped below a pre-defined threshold, Start Network members and the government of Senegal would receive payouts to implement timely and coordinated actions to protect communities at risk.


When the pre-agreed triggers were met in November 2019, a payout of US $12.5m was made to the Government of Senegal and another US $10.6m was paid to Start Network. The payout to Start Network remains the largest-ever funding allocation to civil society for early humanitarian action.


Throughout 2020, six Start Network members – Action Against Hunger, Catholic Relief Services, Oxfam, Plan International, Save the Children and World Vision – worked alongside the government of Senegal to deliver assistance to Senegalese families ahead of a severe large-scale drought. The agencies distributed enriched flour and made cash transfers to more than 335,000 people across seven regions. This enabled families to protect livestock and other valuable assets and avoid resorting to ‘negative coping strategies’, such as skipping meals or sending children to work instead of school. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated needs and agencies took the opportunity to broadcast hygiene and sanitation messaging to help mitigate the spread of the virus.




Start Network undertook a comprehensive evaluation to review the impact of the payout on the members who received funding and the communities reached. A mixed method approach was taken, including data collection from implementing agencies, government stakeholders, and three rounds of randomised, representative telephone-based surveys with communities.




Thanks to further funding provided by BMZ through KFW, Start Network is now working to purchase a policy in Senegal in 2021, and to expand the programme to other African country such as Zimbabwe.




News Article

Innovative insurance policies purchased to protect up to 800,000 people in Zimbabwe from drought risk

Start Network has today announced the purchase of an innovative insurance policy in partnership with African Risk Capacity (ARC) and the Government of Zimbabwe. The policy is to protect more than 800,000 people in Zimbabwe from drought risk during the 2021/2022 agricultural season.


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Se adquiere una innovadora póliza de seguros para proteger del riesgo de sequía a hasta 800.000 personas en Zimbabue

Start Network ha anunciado hoy la adquisición de una innovadora póliza de seguros en colaboración con African Risk Capacity (ARC) y el Gobierno de Zimbabue.  La póliza protegerá a más de 800.000 personas en Zimbabue del riesgo de sequía durante la temporada agrícola 2021/2022.  


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Achat d'une police d'assurance innovante pour protéger jusqu'à 800 000 personnes au Zimbabwe contre le risque de sécheresse

Start Network a annoncé aujourd'hui l'achat d'une police d'assurance innovante en partenariat avec African Risk Capacity (ARC) et le gouvernement du Zimbabwe.  La police doit protéger plus de 800 000 personnes au Zimbabwe contre le risque de sécheresse pendant la saison agricole 2021/2022.


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Une nouvelle police d'assurance protégera jusqu'à 160 000 personnes contre les sécheresses au Sénégal

Start Network a signé une police d'assurance contre les risques climatiques qui protégera jusqu'à 160 000 personnes au Sénégal des effets de la sécheresse. Cette police, l'une des premières de ce genre, permettra aux organisations humanitaires d'apporter une aide cruciale aux Sénégalais dès qu'une sécheresse sera prévue, contribuant ainsi à éviter la famine.


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New insurance policy will protect up to 160,000 people in Senegal from drought

Start Network has signed a climate risk insurance policy that will protect up to 160,000 people in Senegal from the effects of drought. One of the first of its kind, the policy will enable aid agencies to offer life-saving support to people in Senegal as soon as a drought is predicted, helping to prevent famine.


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Bien qu'il soit possible de prévoir une sécheresse plusieurs mois à l'avance, l'aide humanitaire est souvent retardée, car une fois la crise survenue, il faut du temps pour collecter des fonds.


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Aunque la sequía se puede predecir con meses de anticipación, la asistencia humanitaria a menudo se retrasa porque se necesita tiempo para recaudar fondos después de que ocurre la crisis.


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Defeating drought: Crisis Averted in Senegal

Although drought can be predicted months in advance, humanitarian assistance is often delayed – because it takes time to raise funds after the crisis has happened.