NEW YORK – UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, on Monday, announced a new eight billion dollars development initiative to reduce poverty and boost business activities in eight countries in Africa.
This is contained in a statement issued in New York by Ban’s Spokesman, Stephane DuJarric.
The countries are Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda.
DuJarric said Ban made the announcement in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at the start of a joint trip uniting the capacities of the UN, World Bank, European Union, Islamic Development Bank and African Development Bank.
He 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 spokesman also quoted Ban as saying the UN was leading the international delegation “to ensure a coherent and coordinated approach toward peace, security and development in the Horn of Africa.”
“The Horn of Africa is not only a vastly diverse region, but also boasts of the fastest growing economies and huge untapped natural resources.
“There are also a number of contradictions in the region, including many extraordinarily poor people, widespread unemployment among growing number of young people, and huge obstacles facing women.
“In addition, many countries in the region are vulnerable to piracy, corruption and drug trafficking, or subjected to flare-ups in violence at the hands of militant and terrorist groups.
“From a humanitarian perspective, some of the countries also find themselves in a precarious situation.’’
The UN scribe spokesman also quoted World Bank President, Jim Kim, as saying “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.”
Kim, then, pledged 1.8 billion dollars for regional cross-border activities aimed at boosting overall economic development.
He said “there is greater opportunity now for the Horn of Africa to break free from its cycles of drought, food insecurity, water insecurity, and conflict by building up regional security, generating a peace dividend, especially among young women and men, and spurring more cross-border cooperation.’’
The World Bank’s financial input will be joined by the European Union’s pledge of 3.7 billion dollars until 2020.
Also, the African Development Bank had pledged 1.8 billion dollars over the next three years and the Islamic Development Bank; one billion dollars, to be targeted at Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda.
NAN recalls that this is the third African trip in the span of 18 months for both the Secretary-General and World Bank President.
In 2013, the two travelled to the Great Lakes and Sahel regions to promote peace and development and pledged 2.7 billion dollars for regional programmes aimed at improving health, education, nutrition, access to energy and job training.
NAN reports that Ban and Kim would also be in Djibouti, where the delegation would meet with the country’s President, the Prime Minister and the President of the National Assembly.
The delegation would then travel to Kenya and meet with the President.
While in Nairobi, the UN Chief would also launch the Global Media Campaign to end Female Genital Mutilation. (NAN)