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A Critical Assessment of the African Union’s Disaster Risk Reduction Strategy

Roland Azibo Balgah (The University of Bamenda, Cameroon)

Disaster Management in Sub-Saharan Africa: Policies, Institutions and Processes

ISBN: 978-1-80262-818-0, eISBN: 978-1-80262-817-3

Publication date: 21 April 2022


Surging global natural disasters provide incentive for risk-reducing policies and strategies. In this light, the African Union (AU) engaged a multi-stakeholder policy formulation process between 2002 and 2006, to develop a continent-wide disaster risk reduction (DRR) strategy. Drawing from secondary data, this chapter assesses the process and applies qualitative analysis instruments to critically assess the AU’s disaster policy. Linkages to the 2005 international Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) are also highlighted. The analysis reveals that Africa’s policy formulation process was belated for over a decade, with respect to international expectations. The formulation process was however largely African owned and led, culminating in a strategy document that reflected African contextual reality at the time, and aligned well with HFA fundamental goals. The applied multi-stakeholder approach enhanced a spirit of participation across levels and was central to the largely successful policy formulation process. However, targeted policy outcomes were not explicit, and poorly formulated indicators marred short- and long-term policy evaluation. Based on these results, we conclude that the African-wide DRR policy formulation processes were belated but participatory, systematic and very successful. Belated policy formulation reflects an initial inertia on the African continent, justified by past negative policy experiences and the desire to succeed. A replication of this policy formulation approach in Africa is recommended, albeit exercising more caution on policy timing, the elaboration of better monitoring and evaluation instruments and criteria. Participation should further embrace modern, risk-free (anti-COVID-19-friendly) information and communication technologies.



Balgah, R.A. (2022), "A Critical Assessment of the African Union’s Disaster Risk Reduction Strategy", Balgah, R.A. and Kimengsi, J.N. (Ed.) Disaster Management in Sub-Saharan Africa: Policies, Institutions and Processes, Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 57-96.



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