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IGAD states to set up drought trust fund

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 8 – African countries under the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) were on Thursday expected to set up a multi donor trust fund for long term development operations for drought management.

This will be a 15 year programme aimed at addressing the challenge most African countries are facing with the persistent drought through long term interventions.

IGAD Executive Secretary Mahboub Maalim said with the changing cycle of drought where it was now occurring every two years, there was need to undertake and sustain long term programmes aimed at vulnerability reduction and resilience building.

“The trust fund is going to provide the basis on early response, all the information networking required, coordination, major response linked to long term development and policy issues that require to be harmonised,” he told Journalists after the opening of a summit on the Horn of Africa crisis.

The Trust fund will ensure that financing of emergencies is immediate so that there is no much time spent before response to a crisis.

The IGAD member states will be required to contribute towards the Trust fund.

“Even if not directly from their coffers, they will be expected to forego a portion of their Overseas Development Aid (ODA) from World Bank, about one percent and some of their national level support from the African Development Bank. They will be required to show support for this Trust fund,” Mr Maalim emphasised.

He said that The African Development Bank had already pledged USD300 million towards the fund while IGAD would negotiate for another USD300 million from the World Bank later this month.

The IGAD Executive Secretary noted that the problem with the Horn of Africa was lack of enough finances to sustain long term projects.

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“In the last 15 years the Overseas Development Aid to the horn of Africa has reduced by 40 percent and within this period development partners have shifted support,” Mr Maalim said.

Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula said it was time for the region to take care of its own problems.

“I am not a pessimist in life. I know we have lost lives, we have lost property but it is always good to get moving. Talks like this have gone on and results have not been impressive but it doesn’t make this a talking shop, Heads of States are leaving their portfolios to come here tomorrow (Friday). So for the region to come at this level of representation cannot be a talking shop, we mean business,” he said.

He said the two-day summit would also come up with a Nairobi declaration on how to deal with the immediate emergencies facing the Horn of Africa countries.

“We must wake up to the reality that as Africa we must solve our problems. The donor community gives us therapies when people are dying, they give us quick relief food but we must address the long term issues,” the Foreign Affairs Minister said.

“For Africans to be coming together, it should be seen as a ray of hope that we are taking charge of our issues,” he emphasised.

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in Eastern Africa was created in 1996 to supersede the Intergovernmental Authority on Drought and Development (IGADD) which was founded in 1986.

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