Spain Doubles Aid to WFP to Help Fight Hunger in Horn of Africa

Published on 19 November 2009

Millions of people are being pushed closer to destitution by factors beyond their control.

(Copyright: WFP/Wagdi Othman)

ROME – Spain’s Secretary of State for International Cooperation, Soraya Rodriguez Ramos, today announced a donation of €75 million (US$112m) to the United Nations World Food Programme in response to the critical hunger situation in the Horn of Africa.

The announcement followed the UN’s three-day World Summit on Food Security in the Italian capital and effectively doubles Spain’s contributions to WFP.

Rodriguez said Spain’s Master Plan for Development highlighted the need to keep on giving whatever the economic climate. “In times of crisis, development aid is more needed than ever, because the most needy are the ones who suffer the consequences,” she said. “In the face of extreme hunger, we have to respond efficiently and quickly. Delayed response increases the cost of the crises for all involved."

Spearheading response

"This extraordinary contribution brings hope and help to the more than 20 million most vulnerable people that we are committed to assisting in the Horn of Africa," said Josette Sheeran, WFP Executive Director.  “Spain has been a model partner for WFP in spearheading both the response to high food prices and now, in taking the lead on our critical appeal for the Horn of Africa."

The Spanish government has been steadily increasing its contributions to WFP particularly over the last few years. Even before today’s announcement, Spain was in WFP’s top ten of donor nations having already donated €72 million (US$ 108 m) to the UN agency this year.

WFP has been scaling up its operations in countries such as Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia, which have suffered due to a combination of prolonged drought, recurring conflict, continued high food prices and the global financial crisis.  In September, it launched an emergency appeal for almost US$ 1 billion over the next six months, to provide millions of  people throughout the region with food assistance.