Addis Ababa - Rwanda yesterday pledged US$100,000 towards supporting the famine ravaged Horn of Africa region, especially in Somalia.
The pledge was made by Prime Minister Bernard Makuza on behalf of the Government, during a pledging conference on the drought in the Horn of Africa, convened in Addis Ababa by the Chair of the African Union.
The conference was organised to raise resources and awareness among member states and the wider international community towards alleviating the plight of the affected population in the region.
The meeting was attended by AU member states as well as invited delegations from the international community.
Rwanda was represented by the Premier Makuza who led a delegation that also included the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Louise Mushikiwabo.
Present also were Heads of State from Equatorial Guinea, Djibouti, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, the President of the Federal Transitional Government of Somalia, the President of AfDB and the High Representative of the Chairperson of the AU on Somalia, Jerry Rawlings.
Makuza called on African nations and donors to rise to the occasion and support the communities in the Horn region.
“The current drought situation in the Horn of Africa, and in particular Somalia, calls for efforts, individually and collectively, to support the affected communities in this region of our continent,” Makuza said
Referring to the effects of climate change, the Prime Minister said the drought was a signal of a bigger problem that needed to be confronted in a comprehensive and sustainable manner.
“The debate on climate change and its impact on agricultural production and productivity is very crucial for us. Africa must be part of the solution to climate change,” he said.
Several speakers at the conference emphasised the need for Africa to map out clear and long term strategies to address Africa’s sustainable development needs as opposed to ad hoc measures often taken to avert crises.
It is in this light that the African Development Bank President, Dr Donald Kaberuka, announced the bank’s contribution of US$300 million to a special program for the Horn of Africa region to be disbursed in the next five years.
Total financial contributions at the conference amounted to US$351 million while those in kind amounted to US$28 million.
Following yesterday’s conference, a Heads of State extraordinary session of the AU’s Peace and Security Council is due to take place today, where member states of the PSC, which Rwanda is a member, would discuss the Libyan situation.