Donors pledge $8bn for Horn of Africa

28 Oct 14
International donors, including the World Bank and the European Union, have pledged more than $8bn to boost economic growth and reduce poverty across eight countries in the Horn of Africa.

By | 27 October 2014

International donors, including the World Bank and the European Union, have pledged more than $8bn to boost economic growth and reduce poverty across eight countries in the Horn of Africa.

The region includes some of the fastest growing economies in Africa, with many untapped natural resources but also large numbers of poor people. The funding will be shared between Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan and Uganda.

Representatives of the international donor community met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia yesterday where they were told that the Horn of Africa region needed new assistance in order to secure peace and prosperity. Wars and instability has generated over 2.7 million refugees from the region along with 6 million internally displaced people. Unemployment is widespread among young people and women face huge obstacles because of their gender.

Spearheading the high-level conference was United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon who said: ‘The countries of the Horn of Africa are making important yet unheralded progress in economic growth and political stability. Now is a crucial moment to support those efforts, end the cycles of conflict and poverty and move from fragility to sustainability.’

The World Bank pledged $1.8bn, which includes $600m for infrastructure investment funds. Specific projects set to benefit are a regional pipeline linking Uganda and Kenya, better ICT and broadband connectivity and the expansion of higher education.

‘This new financing represents a major new opportunity for the people of the Horn of Africa to make sure they get access to clean water, nutritious food, health care, education, and jobs,’ said World Bank president Jim Yong Kim.

The EU also said it would support the region with $3.7bn until 2020, of which about 10% would be for cross-border activities.

European development commissioner Andris Piebalgs said: ‘The EU stands ready to further deepen its long-standing partnership with the Horn of Africa – ing to build robust and accountable political structures, enhancing trade and economic cooperation, financing peace keeping activities and providing humanitarian assistance and development cooperation.’

The African Development Bank pledged $1.8bn over the next three years for the region and called for co-ordinated partnership between the eight nations.

The Islamic Development Bank committed to spend up to $1bn in new finance over the same period in its four member countries (Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda), while a further $2bn could be provided by the Arab Coordination Group.

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