NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) – International donors say they won’t allow a repeat of last year’s Horn of Africa famine and are gearing up to spend billions of dollars on programs to help communities withstand cyclical droughts.
International donors have pledged to spend $3.9 billion on programs like crop resiliency over the next five years, Raj Shah, the head of the U.S. aid arm known as USAID, said in an interview late Wednesday.
The British government estimates that between 50,000 and 100,000 died in last year’s famine in Somalia and drought in Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Djibouti. More than 12 million people needed food aid at some points. But the suffering was the worst in Somalia, where Islamist militants refused to allow in aid.
“The loss of life and the incredible human suffering was so tremendous during this last drought and we realized coming out of that … we need to internationalize and build a global movement to make real significant investments in resilience,” Shah said.
Shah said it costs less to the help people in Horn of Africa be able to withstand drought than to distribute aid during a crisis.
“Today we live a world where we know droughts will be more frequent and more common because of a changing climate in the Horn … so we simply have got to learn from the past and make the investments that are more efficient and that save the international community resources over time because humanitarian needs go down,” he said.
He said a broader commitment of resources is designed to be more efficient and allow vulnerable communities “more dignity than a cycle of drought, destruction and humanitarian assistance.”
Shah said USAID, donor groups and IGAD _ a regional bloc of seven countries _ will implement programs to give people in dry-land areas and pastoral communities access to affordable water.
He said the group will also focus on protecting children from malnutrition and promote dialogue between communities so they can help each other when resources are scarce.
Shah said USAID is going to invest $280 million over the next two years in projects to promote resilience in communities in the Horn of Africa. The European Union announced Wednesday it has set aside around $310 million for the projects. The World Bank is pledging $1.8 billion. Other donors are also contributing.
The billions in pledges will be spent in countries where corruption can be a major problem. Somalia last year was ranked the most corrupt country in the world while Kenya is ranked 154th out of 183 nations by anti-corruption campaigners Transparency International. Ethiopia is ranked 120th.
Shah said the transparency and performance of many sub-Saharan African governments has been improving but corruption still exists. He said the USAID will work only with organizations that support transparency and accountability.
Anti-corruption crusader Mwalimu Mati said African governments have enough domestic resources to ensure that their citizens are insulated from drought, but because of corruption they seek external help from donors. Mati said African governments need to spend more time fighting corruption and spend less time talking about it.
“People never resign from governments, get prosecuted and jailed even after they are implicated in scandals,” Mati said.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- Locals helping locals: 6 success stories you need to know about
- Sunscreen facts that could save your life
- 6 energy saving hacks for your home
- 5 tips for choosing a company to end your timeshare
- Water tips to save money, help save the Earth
- 5 of the most adored gentlemen in professional sports today
- The real danger of sitting at your desk
- Most surprising NBA playoff performances of the last 40 years
- 11 classic baseball movies you must see again
- Finally getting rid of fat: 3 methods that actually work
- 4 reasons cancer survivors should focus on food
- 5 spring cleaning spots everyone forgets
- 5 reasons to look forward to watching the D-backs this season
- Common virus attributed to spike in head and neck cancers
- 5 signs it’s time to end your timeshare ownership
- 3 most overlooked ways to keep your home healthy
- 6 ways the air in your home could be making you sick
- CrossFit dangers: 5 common injuries and how to deal with them
- Today's radiation treatments offer better success, fewer side effects
- Tips to make watching TV on the patio even better
- What really happens when you donate to a community college?
- Sun and skin cancer: Separating fact from fiction
- 5 critical lifestyle changes for a healthy colon
- What you need to know about Alzheimer's disease in Arizona
- Spring clean your windows like a pro with these 8 tips
- 7 films that should have won best-picture Oscars
- New plumbing technology saves money and improves your home
- Survey shows Arizona CFOs optimistic about 2016
- How chronic pain can affect your love life
- 5 potential warning signs about your child's development