WFP today welcomed an aid package totalling JPY 940 million (US$7.9 million) from the Japanese Government to assist millions of people affected by conflict and natural disasters in a total of five countries in Africa.
WFP is deeply grateful for Japan’s support to Africa.
Mihoko Tamamura, WFP Director in Japan
The money will be spent to buy rice, wheat, and corn-soya blend. The food will support people living in the transition from conflict to peace in Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Sierra Leone and the Republic of Congo.
It will also reach refugees, internally displaced people, returnees and vulnerable women, children and the elderly.
“WFP is deeply grateful for Japan’s support to Africa. This aid package from Japan puts “food first” as a means to achieve human security and peace building in countries emerging of conflict,” said Mihoko Tamamura, Director of WFP Office in Japan.
In the Great Lakes region, Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania will receive JPY 170 million (US$1.4 million), JPY 180 million (US$1.5 million), and JPY 310 million (US$2.6 million), respectively.
Burundi is going through a key transitional period with a new president elected in August.
Returnees from Tanzania, internally displaced persons, and refugees from neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Rwanda are in serious need of food assistance.
The donation for Rwanda will be spent to assist refugees from the DRC and Burundi as well as the most vulnerable segment of Rwandans.
Tanzania has received hundreds of thousands of refugees from Burundi, the DRC, and Rwanda, and WFP is assisting 400,000 of them in need of food aid.
JPY 170 million (US$1.4 million) is allocated to Sierra Leone to assist its peace building efforts after the demobilization of combatants and repatriation of displaced people. JPY 110 million (US$900,000) will be directed to the Republic of Congo in support of returnees and other vulnerable people.
Last July leaders of the G-8 pledged to increase aid to Africa at a summit in Gleneagles, Scotland. 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$10 billion in aggregate over the next five years.
At the 2005 World Summit in New York in September, member states pledged to reinforce their efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
“The aid package announced by Japan today is a concrete measure towards fulfilling these commitments,” Tamamura said.
Donations from the Japanese government to WFP for sub-Saharan Africa have reached US$ 64.3 million this year including today’s package –an increase of nearly 50 percent over the US$ 43.9 million that WFP received from Japan in 2004 for countries in sub-Saharan Africa.