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Economic crisis impacts donor funds

NAIROBI, November 10 – United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on Monday announced its plans to reduce funding to African countries.

Visiting UNFPA Regional Director Dr Bunmi Makinwa said the reduction was as a result of the ongoing economic crisis affecting the world.

“Already we can see from the calculations and projections that are being made, these organisations will not receive as much funding as they used to receive by 2009/2010. In the past four years, the funding has been going up all over because the economic climate was very good,” he said.

Dr Makinwa further noted that UNFPA’s income was on the decline due to the changing exchange rates that had hit the world markets.

Organisations dealing with contraceptives will be highly affected since the government puts in only 50 percent while the other half comes from donors.

He advised organisations funded by UNFPA to source for alternative resources to sustain their programmes.

“If our resources will decrease by 10 percent or 20 percent or so, what do we need to change, where do we get additional resources, or how do we utilise the available resources? This is what we should start planning,” he said.

In a move to cut down on costs, the Regional Director said UNFPA was changing its policies which involved the relocation of its offices from New York to their geographical regions that constitute their regions.

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“My office for instance, will move to Africa and will be based in South Africa; the reason is we want to be where we actually work. We want to feel the emotions of these places and also to become more efficient,” he said.

Other offices are the sub regional offices for East and South Africa to be based also in South Africa and Sub Regional for West and Central Africa which will be based in Dakar.

He also hinted that working styles of the UN body will be affected when the planned changes are implemented.

Dr Makinwa emphasised on the need to change policies to provide affordable medical services and also make them more available to the public.

He said several African countries had improved their economy yet the impact does not trickle down to provide quality medical services to ordinary people.

He said improvement of infrastructure was one of the ways of making health services accessible.

The Director said during his visit he will hold talks with other international health agencies to discuss how they can work together to harmonise their projects in Africa to create a bigger impact.

Population report

Dr Makinwa who is in the country to access UNFPA’s projects is also expected to launch the State of the World Population Report on Wednesday.

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He said the report will be launched alongside Kenya’s national report on the same.

The reports will highly focus on culture, gender and development and issues that affect population and reproductive health.

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