BACKGROUND                                PROFILE OF BUSINESS ENTERPRISES AT
                                                           UNIVERSITY OF PRETORIA (PTY) LTD
                The Aon Benfield Natural                   (BE at UP)
                Hazard Centre, Africa, was                 In 2000 a structure for campus enterprises was
                established in November 2008               established to enable the University of Pretoria to
                at the University of Pretoria to           position itself as a true leader in the fields of research,
                enhance the management of                  training and consulting. These campus enterprises
 natural disasters in the African continent. In            promote contact with the private and the public sector,
 collaboration with Benfield, one of the world’s           as well as the broader community. One of the
                                                           enterprises established was Business Enterprises at
 leading independent reinsurance and risk                  University of Pretoria (Pty) Ltd (BE at UP), in which
 intermediary, the Centre provides research
 solutions and consultative services in natural
                                                           the University has 100% shareholding.                         AON BENFIELD
 hazards, with particular emphasis on seismic
 and weather-related risks throughout Africa.
                                                           BE at UP acts as facilitator that allows the business
                                                           world access to the vast pool of multidisciplinary
                                                                                                                         Natural Hazard Centre
                                                           brainpower and resources at the University. It aims                  Africa
                                                           at creating an environment for entrepreneurship,
 The Centre functions as a multidisciplinary               which includes the commercialisation and marketing
 platform where researchers and                            of viable products and services in a wide variety of
 postgraduate students are able to develop                 fields.
 sensible solutions for the African continent.
 The Centre also has access to a network of                A selected profile of available services:
 associates with extensive experience and skill            • Economic input/output models for local government,
                                                             and local and international investors
 in earthquake hazard modelling, mining                    • Statistical data-mining solutions
 catastrophes, flood and meteorological risks.             • Business and professional ethics strategies
                                                           • Consultation and research in the fields of community
 Conducting applied research to benefit both the             health, public health and health systems
 private and public sectors, the Centre provides           • Forensic analysis of drugs of abuse
 its clients in the engineering, disaster                  • Actuarial risk management solutions
                                                           • Gender audits and related research activities
 management, insurance and other                           • Macroeconomic modelling
 industries with research solutions,                       • Water quality assessments for livestock, game,
 consultation services and management                        domestic use and irrigation purposes
 information related to the prediction of                  • Organisation and work behaviour assessment
 natural disasters in order to lower risks.                • Business strategy services
 It also offers independent advice, opinion and            • Human capital and risk management
                                                           • Clinical drug trials
 analysis on various aspects of Africa’s natural           • Development and planning in the field of tourism
 perils, and how to prevent potential damage to            • Cultural resource management and relocation of
 lives and property.                                         graves
                                                           • Consultation and research on Information
                                                             Communication Technology (ICT)

Celia da Silva
Marketing Manager                                                Graduate Centre, First Floor, Entrance 2.27
                                                                                                                           NATURAL AND
Business Enterprises at University of Pretoria (Pty) Ltd   Cnr Lunnon and Herold Streets, Hatfield, Pretoria, 0083         AGRICULTURAL
Tel:+27 (12) 420 4247/4245
Fax: +27 (12) 362 5270
                                                                       PO Box 14679, Hatfield, 0028
                                                                          Tel: +27 (12) 420 4245
Cell: 082 776 3913                                                       Fax: +27 (12) 362 5270
E-mail:                                             E-mail:
                 COLLABORATION WITH                      of poverty, mismanagement of natural resources,         RELEVANT SERVICES
                 INDUSTRY                                and failures of policy and institutional frameworks.
                                                         We cannot prevent a natural disaster, but
                                                                                                                 The study of natural disasters
                  The development of research            we can take steps to minimise the negative
                                                                                                                 is therefore vital for Africa’s
                  centres that combine research          effects.
                                                                                                                 future in light of:
                  activities and the development of
                                                         The West has many hazard and disaster research          • The supply of electricity:
                  postgraduate students with a direct
                                                         centres, and many approaches to planning and               The Centre can help the
                  engagement with the private sector
are particularly valued by the University of Pretoria.   modelling these events. But European hazard                nuclear industry to provide
Through these activities the University is able to       assessment procedures are not designed for African         environmentally safe electricity from secure
foster its research agenda while making a direct         scenarios.                                                 locations with a very low danger from natural
contribution to a field with immediate practical                                                                    hazards. The Centre can also assist in the
benefits to the country.                                 Africa needs African methodologies and African-            planning of hydro-electric dams which can
                                                         specific techniques to deal with its unique data.
                                                                                                                    withstand earthquakes.
The collaboration between the University and                                                                     • The building of infrastructure: The Centre
Benfield also helps to position the University as a      This is exactly what the Aon Benfield Centre,
                                                         Africa focuses on: to improve the understanding            can contribute to creating bridges and buildings
world-class institution and to focus on the upliftment
                                                         of natural hazard risks for Africa.                        which can withstand the worst natural disasters.
of the African continent at large. This Centre allows
                                                                                                                 • Sustainable financial markets: Financial crises
the University to serve local stakeholders in the
insurance industry and community as a whole and          This Centre has been made all the more important           call for better modelling and the valuation of
act as a multidisciplinary research platform for         by another factor that we failed to foresee – global       risk. The world is already taking note of
Africa-specific solutions.                               warming. Five countries – The United States,               commercial models based on African-originated
                                                         China, Russia, India and Japan – dump 56% of               mathematical solutions.
                                                         the greenhouse gasses into the air, leaving the         • The safety of people and places: The Centre
                THE NEED FOR THIS                        other 202 countries of the world to produce the
                CENTRE                                                                                              can help governments formulate emergency
                                                         other 44%. Africa contributes only half a percent
                                                                                                                    plans for disasters and protect coastal lands in
                                                         of this, but we will share the impact of its negative
                The risks posed by natural and                                                                      the wake of rising sea tides, tsunamis and
                                                         results equally.
                human induced hazards and                                                                           windstorms.
                disasters are rapidly increasing         The world is entering the age of the mega-disasters
                worldwide. The frequency of natural      as global warming combined with the increase in         MANAGEMENT AND
                disasters rose by 30% in the past        population and asset density creates a new and
                                                                                                                 FIELDS OF EXPERTISE
                50 years. Africa is exposed to           unforeseen certainty. From hurricane Katrina to
                several types of natural hazards,        the recent Sichuan earthquake in China, as we
including earthquakes, windstorms, hail and floods.      develop the new Africa, we too will discover soon,      The Aon Benfield Centre is
What’s more, Africa is the only continent whose          that we are also not safe.                              headed by the University’s
actual share of reported disasters has increased                                                                 Professor Andrzej Kijko, in
over the past decade.                                                                                            conjunction with Benfield’s South
                                                                                                                 African office and the Benfield
Several factors contribute to Africa’s high                                                                      ReMetrics Natural Hazards team in London.
vulnerability to disasters, including the high rate
                                                                                                                 Professor Kijko has extensive skills and expertise
of population growth, food insecurity, high levels
                                                                                                                 in earthquake hazard modelling, mining
                                                                                                                 catastrophe, and flood and meteorological risk.

                                                                                                                 The Centre also assists in developing Benfield’s
                                                                                                                 proprietary Geographical Analysis Project (GAP)
                                                                                                                 earthquake model – GAPQuake South Africa.

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