USAID, Swiss Re-Partnership Targets Hunger, Natural Disasters

For Immediate Release

Thursday, October 20, 2011
USAID Press Office
202-712-4320

WASHINGTON, D.C. - USAID and Swiss Re today announced a three-year partnership to help vulnerable communities fight hunger, build resilience to climate change, and reduce the costs of natural disasters in the Americas, Africa and Asia.

With better access to customized, market-based insurance products, poor farmers and their families will be better able to prepare for and cope with the impacts of the droughts, floods and other severe weather events that are predicted to become increasingly common as the climate changes. When farmers have better instruments to manage risk, they can more easily obtain the loans needed to invest in technologies that increase their yields and productivity, and have greater incentive to make those investments, knowing that they are buffered from extreme weather events.

The new partnership combines the expertise of Swiss Re, global leader in innovative risk management solutions, with two USAID efforts: The Global Climate Change Initiative, which aims in part to increase resilience to extreme climate events, and accelerate the global transition to a sustainable, low-carbon economy, and the Feed the Future Initiative, the United States Global Hunger and Food Security effort to help countries develop more resilient and productive agricultural sectors to address the root causes of hunger and under-nutrition.

"Private sector involvement is crucial to USAID's efforts to reduce poverty and foster long term economic development in the countries where we work" said USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah. "Swiss Re has been an industry leader in the development of innovative new products to address weather related risks. We welcome this opportunity to join forces to develop affordable, market-based tools to reduce climate vulnerability in poor communities."

This partnership follows USAID and Swiss Re's recent announcement to join Oxfam America and the World Food Program to expand the R4 Rural Resilience Initiative from Ethiopia to Senegal. It also builds on the two organizations' previous collaborations on pilots under the agency's Index Insurance Innovation Initiative, which invests in research and tests innovations that are improving USAID's understanding of how the poor and vulnerable can best use insurance to manage risk.

"Building insurance capacity in developing countries is a critical step to limiting the vulnerability to extreme weather events that impact so many livelihoods", said Walter Bell, Chairman of Swiss Re America Holding Corp. "Swiss Re's innovative solutions, combined with USAID's technical expertise and extensive development experience, will bring advanced risk management solutions to the communities who need them most."

For more information about USAID’s programs, please visit www.usaid.gov.

Last updated: June 13, 2012

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