The African Development Bank (AfDB) has signed tripartite grant agreements of US$ 34.8 million and US$ 43.8 million with the Republic of Somalia and the Republic of South Sudan respectively and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) under the Bank’s ‘Say No To Famine – Short Term Regional Emergency Response Project – STRERP’. IGAD will oversee the implementation of the project through an agency to be recruited in each of the countries. The agencies will work with the governments to put in place structures, systems and facilities that will enable them take on increasing responsibility for disaster management and delivery of humanitarian assistance.
The STRERP was approved by the Boards of Directors of the African Development Bank on 21 July 2017 and falls within the context of the Bank’s “Say No To Famine” framework. Under this framework, the Bank plans to invest about US$ 1.1 billion as a coordinated response to its Regional Members Countries that have been severely affected by prolonged drought periods and unstable food production.
Targeting 804,000 individuals in Somalia and 300,000 individuals in South Sudan, STRERP’s direct food, water, fodder and medical assistance will provide relief to meet the immediate hunger and malnutrition needs faced by communities affected by drought, conflicts and famine. It will also provide food for more able-bodied members of beneficiary households to enable them engage in restoration and creation of community assets that will assist the targeted communities in enhancing livelihoods and build resilience against future shocks.
The Grants are geared towards providing emergency food assistance and medical aid to the most vulnerable populations in Somalia and South Sudan. In addition, the project includes activities to put in place the preliminary building blocks to strengthen links between the production, distribution and consumption hubs of the food systems in the affected regions. This will help facilitate an increased system-wide efficiency and longer-term resilience, which is generally aligned with the Bank’s High-5 priorities, and particularly the Feed Africa Strategy. The project is also aligned with the Bank’s Strategy for Addressing Fragility and Building Resilience in Africa (2014-2019) through its focus on strengthening relevant government institutions’ capacity to effectively plan, coordinate and implement disaster risk management and humanitarian responses.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Gabriel Negatu, AfDB Director General, Eastern Africa Regional Development and Business Delivery Office said, “We are delighted that through STRERP, we will provide immediate action to increase food security, boost household incomes, promote regional trade in food products and kick start community recovery, ultimately contributing to inclusive growth and resilience in Somalia and South Sudan.”
The project will strengthen the capacity of relevant ministries such as the Ministry of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Management in Somalia and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture in South Sudan).
Maryan Qasim, Somalia’s Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, who signed on behalf of the Federal Government of Somalia, said; “In the name of the Federal Government of Somalia, I would like to extend my gratitude to AfDB for their generosity and for the continued support to the drought response through this substantial grant. The establishment of the Ministry of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Management is a milestone for Somalia, particularly now when we are faced with an extreme humanitarian situation. Through this ministry, we are working to address structural issues so that we can prevent being in crisis mode every few years. We are working to ensure that the humanitarian investment goes beyond alleviating short term suffering and concentrate on enabling people living in arid lands to build viable and food secure futures.”
Signing on behalf of the Government of South Sudan, the Minister of Finance and Planning, Stephen Dhieu Dau Ayik, said “My government is proud and grateful for this grant which we will implement immediately to help save many lives threatened by the humanitarian crisis. We also look forward to continue to strengthen our partnership with the Bank as this will be very beneficial to our people and the economy at large.”
“It is great to see AfDB provide support to deal with this humanitarian emergency currently being experienced in the two countries; Somalia and South Sudan. IGAD is thrilled to be associated with this project and we look forward to its implementation,” said IGAD Executive Secretary, Mahboub Maalim.
In addition to meeting the daily nutritional needs of vulnerable members of the population, STRERP will facilitate resilience-oriented activities. This will be accomplished through meeting communities’ nutritional needs and creating opportunities for affected communities to re-engage in agricultural production. Integral to this will be stimulating the local private sector and reducing drought and hardship-induced cross-border migration in search of scarce food, water and pasture.