Business, Economics and Jobs

African Union plans famine fund-raiser


Somali refugees walk by a new extension of the Dadaab camps complex where 1,500 people are arriving everyday fleeing drought and famine.


Tony Karumba

The African Union says it will convene a pledging conference on 9 August to raise funds to help people afflicted by the drought and famine in the Horn of Africa.

The AU’s deputy chairman said http:// the conference would bring together heads of state and donor countries.

“I ask the African continent, from the northern coast to the southern cape, to look hard at how they can contribute to alleviating the suffering,” said Erasmus Mwencha, who visited Mogadishu, Somalia, to meet some of the tens of thousands of people who have fled famine in the countryside in search of food and aid in the city.

“Around the globe, everyone must dig deep into their pockets to rescue the people of Somalia from the abyss they find themselves staring into.”

The AU’s High Representative for Somalia, former Ghana president Jerry Rawlings, said: “This is not a time for second thoughts, or any hesitation. Not for more than twenty years has the continent faced such a catastrophe of food shortages that we are seeing today in the Horn of Africa,” he said.

Mwencha said the AU had so far given $500,000 to alleviate the famine.

But the United Nations says that of the $2.5 billion needed only $1 billion has so far been committed.

The latest estimates are that 12.4-million now face food shortages as the crisis continues to spread and worsen.