UN World Food Programme

Saudi Arabia becomes leading donor, fighting hunger worldwide

WFP has praised the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for a major increase in its support in 2006 to help WFP fight hunger worldwide.

WFP has praised the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for a major increase in its support in 2006 to help WFP fight hunger worldwide.

We are especially pleased that more Saudi donations, both public and private, are being made for food aid outside the Middle East showing a move to a wider global engagement

WFP Executive Director James Morris

"The dramatic increase in Saudi donations to humanitarian causes is impressive. We are so grateful that Saudi Arabia is focusing more on hunger and malnutrition which still claim more lives than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined, especially among young children," said WFP Executive Director James Morris who is in Saudi Arabia today for meetings with senior officials.

Significant donor

An increasingly significant donor to WFP operations, the Government of Saudi Arabia has contributed nearly US$31 million this year alone, a tenfold increase compared to 2005.

Saudi individuals and associations have donated nearly US$10 million over the past two years.

In the Middle East, Saudi Arabia is by far the biggest donor to WFP's global activities and the Kingdom has become the 16th largest donor overall to the UN food aid agency this year.

Recent beneficiaries

WFP operations in Lebanon, Cambodia, the occupied Palestinian territory, and Pakistan, as well as East and West Africa are among the recent beneficiaries of generous Saudi support.

For example, in 2006, Saudi Arabia donated US$10 million to the West African Sahel area to communities suffering from the tragic impact of drought, poverty and conflict.

The funds went to WFP operations in eight countries: Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

"We are especially pleased that more Saudi donations, both public and private, are being made for food aid outside the Middle East showing a move to a wider global engagement,@ said Morris.

"We hope other nations in the region will join in building their donations to give a fairer chance to the more than 850 million poor people whose lives are blighted by malnutrition," he said.