Aid package for Africa shows Japan's growing role

WFP has welcomed an aid package totalling JPY1.28 billion (US$11.33 million) from the Japanese Government to assist millions of people affected by conflict and natural disasters in a total of seven countries in Africa.

The aid will support a cross-section of people in seven African countries (Sudan, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe) and will cover refugees and internally displaced people; victims of erratic rainfall and drought; vulnerable people rebuilding their countries as they move from war to peace; and people affected by HIV/AIDS.

"Deeply grateful"

“WFP is deeply grateful for Japan’s support to Africa. It is proof of Japan’s commitment and growing leadership role in ending hunger in Africa,” said Mihoko Tamamura, Director of the WFP Office in Japan.

“One African in three is malnourished, and the situation is getting worse. With so many major disasters striking concurrently - stretching from the South Asian earthquake to the parts of Central America and the Caribbean hit by hurricanes - this aid package from Japan is a concrete step to achieve ‘human security’ and ‘peace building’.

"It is a ‘food first’ approach to helping the poor in Africa, making the first priority proper nutrition,” Tamamura added.

Uprooted by conflict

A total of JPY480 million (US$4.25 million) is to help feed some 3 million people who are uprooted by conflict in the Darfur region of western Sudan and from the host communities.

JPY330 million (US$2.92 million) is destined to feed people in Darfur itself, and JPY150 million (US$1.33 million) will aid 350,000 who are refugees from Darfur who fled to Chad and from their host communities.

The donations to Chad and Darfur will be used to buy wheat. The Government of Japan announced a US$100 million aid package in support of Sudan at a donor conference in Oslo in April. Japan’s donation of JPY 480 million for Darfur and Chad is part of this larger aid package.

Wheat and rice

In West Africa, WFP’s operations in Cote D’Ivoire and Liberia will receive JPY200 million (US$1.77 million) each to buy wheat and rice to help 900,000 conflict-affected people in Cote D’Ivoire and 650,000 people in Liberia to get on their feet and stabilize and rebuild their countries.

In southern Africa, WFP operations in Swaziland to feed up to 200,000 people affected by drought and HIV/AIDS will receive JPY 100 million (US$880,000 million).

WFP operations to feed up to 1.2 million people in Zambia and 3 million in Zimbabwe will receive JPY 150 million (US$1.33 million) each. The money will be used to purchase maize and milled maize.

Increasing aid

The G-8 Summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, in July issued a pledge to increase aid to Africa. Japan declared it would double its aid to Africa in the next three years as well as increase its official development assistance (ODA) by US$10 billion in aggregate over the next five years.

At the 2005 World Summit in New York in September, member states pledged to reinforce their efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

Japan’s aid package announced today is a concrete measure towards fulfilling these commitments and contributes to human security and peace building, the basic policy principles of Japanese ODA, Tamamura said.