African Risk Capacity Insurance appoints new CEO

The African Risk Capacity Insurance Company Limited (ARC Ltd) has announced the appointment of former IFC Director, Dolika Banda as Chief Executive Officer, effective from 7 September 2016.She will take the reins from Dr Simon Young, who was appointed CEO in 2014 after playing a leading role in the development of the ARC programme. He will continue to serve in an advisory capacity.

Dolika Banda (Pic By Kete Shabani)
Dolika Banda (Pic By Kete Shabani)

ARC Ltd is an insurance mutual and financial affiliate of the ARC Agency a Specialised Agency of the African Union.  As Africa’s first catastrophe risk pool, ARC Ltd provides parametric natural disaster insurance to African governments.

A Zambian economist and advisor, Ms Banda has more than 25 years of international banking and financial management experience with a focus on economic development in sub-Saharan Africa. Most recently, Ms Banda was Regional Director for Africa at the UK’s Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC) since 2013.

Banda worked at the World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation for 16 years within its financial markets, credit, accounting and treasury departments. As Director of Financial Markets, she managed the IFC’s financial markets activities across sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. Banda has also held senior corporate and merchant banking positions at Barclays and Citibank in Zambia.

She currently sits as a non-executive director on a number of boards including Ecobank Transnational Incorporated.

Chairman of the ARC Ltd Board of Directors, Dr Lars Thunell welcomed the incoming CEO: “Ms Banda’s incomparable experience across the continent, encompassing both the private and the public sectors, is a perfect fit for ARC, itself a private-public partnership. We look forward to her leadership taking the company to new horizons.”
Banda said: “I’m honoured to join this unique and inspiring organisation which is providing an African-owned solution to the continent with an emphasis on solidarity. I’m excited to be part of such an important initiative which will help Africa take control and enhance its future development.”

Dr Thunell praised ARC Ltd’s current CEO for having headed up the company through its key start-up phase: “ARC Ltd is only what it is today because of Dr Young’s outstanding leadership. He has created a solid base for this innovative new instrument that is changing the way Africa takes on the climate challenge.”

Dr Young said: “I’m proud to have been a part of the team which has already and continues to push the boundaries of innovation in better managing natural disasters to build resilience and underpin economic growth for the most vulnerable across Africa. I am confident that Dolika will guide the company successfully through its next phase and towards ARC’s goal of insuring 30 countries by 2020 for $1.5bn, helping to protect 150 million vulnerable Africans.”

As the inaugural CEO, Dr Young has overseen the first critical years of ARC Ltd’s growth, including payouts of $26mn in the company’s first year when three countries in the Sahel were impacted by drought. He has also led development of a number of key initiatives within the company including the expansion to tropical cyclone and flood insurance as well as a the ‘Licensing for Development’ pilot project in which ARC licenses its modelling software to underwrite drought insurance across Africa.

He has been key in driving the Replica initiative which aims, through insurance, to shift the humanitarian sector to proactive financing. ARC Ltd plans to provide natural disaster insurance to the World Food Programme and Start Network, a consortium of NGOs, which will replicate African government’s policies.

Dr Young has also led the company’s underwriting and reinsurance activities as the acting Chief Underwriting Officer, a role he will continue to play until a second senior appointment is made later in 2016. During its first two years of operations, ARC Ltd has underwritten over $300mn of risk and transferred $130mn to the international risk markets, both of which are projected to double this year.