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Donors pledge $8 billion as millions face famine in Horn of Africa

Wednesday March 15, 2023

By Zephania Ubwani

A man uses a donkey cart to transport animal fodder to drought affected areas in Higlo Kebele, Adadle woreda, Somali region of Ethiopia, in this undated handout photograph. PHOTO | WFP via REUTERS

The impact is more severe in Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti but extends to South Sudan, the Sudan and north east Uganda.

Arusha. Development partners have pledged $8.7 billion to address alarming hunger in the Horn of Africa.

Nearly all countries in the drought-prone region have been severely impacted by climate change, making food security a major constraint.

The alarming drought followed what policy makers and climate analysts say was the fifth consecutive season of failed rains in the area.

The impact is more severe in Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti but extends to South Sudan, the Sudan and north east Uganda.

“Food security is a major challenge. The donor support is intended to alleviate the situation,” said the Horn of Africa Initiative (HoAI), an organization launched in 2019 to address development challenges there.

The resource mobilization option was taken by the regional body in the wake of worsening drought and subsequent starvation.

“The year 2022 witnessed more than doubling of commitments from $4 billion by the end of 2021 to about $8.7 billion by February 2023,” said the Kenya cabinet secretary Prof Njuguna Ndung’u.

He was speaking during a ministerial roundtable aimed to enhance private sector partnerships in Nairobi last week.

The partnerships will focus on innovative pathways in areas of livestock resilience, trade facilitation and scaling up digital integration.

The $8.7 billion was pledged by the African Development Bank (AfDB), the European Union (EU) and the World Bank, among others.

The three multilateral agencies had focused their support to trade facilitation, digital convergence and energy projects in the bloc.

However, the Nairobi meeting changed tune from trade integration to the weather calamity that has left millions of people on the verge of starvation. “It is important to mitigate the effects of drought first by complementing ongoing development interventions and humanitarian assistance,” said the Ethiopian Finance minister Ahmed Shide, according to a dispatch to The Citizen.

HoAI was launched in 2019 by the finance ministers of the five countries in the Horn of Africa; Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Eritrea.

The initiative seeks to address common development challenges that hamper growth through regional, coordinated and concerted action among the countries.


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