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Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)

Image credit ICLEI

October 2016 – ClimateWise partners with Santam, Marsh, Sanlam, Munich Re, ICLEI, Global Infrastructure Basel and the UNEP FI PSI in an innovative collaborative model with the Dar es Salaam city leadership to manage the risks and opportunities associated with key public infrastructure projects.

One of the many challenges emerging economies face is linked to the climate risk protection gap – the growing divide between total economic and insured losses. This challenge is particularly pertinent across the African continent, which faces low insurance penetration and a lack of a sophisticated use of insurer’s risk management expertise to inform decision-making.

One example of this relates to large public infrastructure projects that are both largely uninsured and lack insurer involvement in the early planning stages of development. As such, these projects often end up unsustainable, unfinanceable and uninsurable. Consequently, they often fail to meet the needs of local communities. This in turn impacts both cities, through a lack of service delivery, and the insurance sector facing a widening protection gap.


To support emerging economy cities to manage the climate risk protection gap, ClimateWise and CISL South Africa supported the design and implementation of the City Innovation Platform for African Infrastructure Risk and Resilience (CIP AIRR). CIP AIRR is a multi-stakeholder partnership whose objective is to identify how the insurance sector can more proactively and collaboratively manage the risks associated with public infrastructure development, thereby increasing their resilience.

CIP AIRR focuses on ways to improve the quality of decision-making around African urban infrastructure projects. This is linked to concerns that the traditional development model for public infrastructure projects is vulnerable to high levels of risk, often as a consequence of a lack of city level information or expertise to address key infrastructural development decisions.

Dar ss Salaam ICLEI 2

The first CIP AIRR pilot project was held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in October 2016 when partners held a workshop with senior city officials. It explored how insurers can support more informed decision-making, from the start of public infrastructure development projects. This is opposed to only entering the process once many of the development decisions had already been made.  

The ethos of the CIP AIRR was to provide a neutral and non-competitive space where private and public sector representatives could discuss challenges and solutions openly and constructively. A carefully facilitated workshop enabled city officials to learn more about the contribution insurance can make to managing risk. This is both in terms of insurance as a risk transfer mechanism and via its risk management advice and expertise. The private sector was similarly exposed to the city’s perspective on the challenges faced in balancing key development decisions with social, economic and environmental needs.                                                                 


The CIP AIRR demonstrated the value that public and private sector collaboration can achieve when properly aligned. This was underlined by an improved understanding by city officials of the principles of risk management and how enhanced resilience can be integrated into existing planning processes with relative ease. It further highlighted the need for the private and public sectors to collaborate more closely if future support for fast growing African cities, like Dar es Salaam, will emerge.

The methodology and lessons from the CIP AIRR will be outlined in an upcoming ClimateWise report.

All images credit ICLEI