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Copenhagen Consensus Center

Best buys for Africa: Economics of resilience to drought

Fast-track Analysis

The humanitarian system is stretched very thin, with funding struggling to keep up with needs. While humanitarian aid can save lives, it has historically arrived late, well into the peak of a crisis. There is increasing recognition that responding to these chronic and protracted crises with ongoing emergency aid is costly and unsustainable. Investing in people’s resilience – their ability to manage shocks and stresses without compromising their future well-being – is critical for reducing humanitarian assistance needs in complex and protracted crises. The study findings demonstrate that billions of dollars in humanitarian assistance can be saved by investing in a proactive approach to protracted crises, with investments in resilience building activities combined with safety net transfer and an early humanitarian response yielding returns of $3.6:1. When the wider benefits of disaster risk reduction are incorporated, returns could rise to as much as $19:1.