Leigh Johnson

Resident Scholar
Academic Areas: Geography, African Studies

Leigh Johnson is an assistant professor in the Department of Geography. Her research interests include climate change, finance, political ecology, development, East Africa and Latin America.

Project title: “Insuring Drought Risk in Africa: Sovereign Disaster Management and Its Discontents”

Insurance is often championed as a tool for reducing and managing risk in the face of climate change and the growing costs of environmental disasters. This project chronicles an ambitious attempt to insure African countries against drought by the African Risk Capacity facility (ARC), an agency of the African Union. ARC’s mission is to marry climate data with pan-African financial solidarity for disaster response, yet numerous countries have exited the insurance pool, jeopardizing its future. This project seeks to understand how conflicts over expert technical systems, concerns about postcolonial sovereignty, and questions of climate justice have shaped ARC’s trajectory.