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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Malawi With First Weather Risk Management Contract New Instrument Helps Fight Negative Impact of Drought

The World Bank today announces its first-ever weather risk management
contract to help Malawi protect itself against the risk of severe
drought. It also marks the first time that a member of the
International Development Association (IDA) is able to access World
Bank market-based risk management tools. On behalf of the Government of
Malawi, the UK Department of International Development (DfID) provided
financial support to cover the premium payment for the contract.

The Government of Malawi approached the World Bank for help
with managing the risk posed by severe drought. Malawi suffers from
chronic drought that cuts agricultural yields and depresses farmer
incomes, negatively affecting the government's budget. When drought
strikes, it increases the price of maize, the main source of food for a
large part of the population. The purchase of the weather hedge is part
of a larger framework designed to reduce agricultural risk in the

"Agriculture is a major sector and source of growth for the
Malawian economy," said Honorable Goodall Gondwe, Minister of Finance.
"Market-based weather risk management tools can not only help protect
against the adverse effects of drought, but are also a potentially
valuable tool for enhancing Malawi's food security."

"We see the Malawi contract as a natural complement to our
work to help countries access market-based tools for managing a range
of risks, including interest rate, currency, commodity and
weather-related risks," said Gloria Grandolini, Director of the World
Bank Treasury's Banking and Debt Management Department.

Weather risk management transactions can be adapted to
countries' specific needs, depending on the type of weather hazard,
level of protection, and the estimated financial loss associated with a
severe and catastrophic event. The potential application of this
product spans diverse sectors, e.g., agriculture, energy production,
and tourism.

The World Bank, working with Malawi, structured the contract
as an option on a rainfall index. The index links rainfall and maize
production so that if precipitation falls below a certain level, the
index will reflect the value of the projected loss in maize production.
Under the contract, if the maize production in the country, as
estimated by the rainfall index, falls to 10% below the historical
average, Malawi will receive a payout of up to a maximum of $5 million.


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