Somalia and South Sudan are in urgent need of assistance with more than half of the population of Somalia (6.2 million people) and more than 40% of the population of South Sudan (5.5 million people) facing starvation. Other areas such as northeastern and coastal Kenya, northern Uganda, south-east Ethiopia are also affected by the ongoing drought and in parts are still recovering from El Nino induced drought of 2015/16. In the North East of Nigeria, more than 5.8 million people face extreme food and nutrition deficits. The situation is rapidly deteriorating and the number of people in need of livelihood and humanitarian emergency assistance is likely to increase as the dry and lean season continues, with significant negative impact on human health, local livelihoods and household assets (essentially livestock) as well as on the food security and nutrition of affected rural communities.
The response to the crisis in the Horn of Africa (Ethiopia, Somalia and South Sudan), Kenya,
Uganda and Nigeria – branded “Say No to Famine” is the Bank’s commitment towards a coordinated response to its Regional Members Countries that have been severely affected by prolonged drought periods and unstable food production systems, leading to the increased exposure of vulnerable populations to chronic hunger and malnutrition. Coupled with weak institutions and governance systems and protracted conflicts, this humanitarian crisis exposes the relative fragility of these countries.
In line with the High 5 Priorities of the Bank, the ultimate goal of the proposed response is to promote regional integration to ensure that food surpluses in one region can balance food deficits in another by strengthening links between the production, distribution and consumption hubs of the food systems in the affected regions, leading to increased system-wide efficiency. The objective of the coordinated response is to decrease exposure of vulnerable populations to chronic hunger and malnutrition and enhance the resilience of households, communities and agro-systems to human-induced and natural shocks. The response will promote gender equality and strive to meet the needs of different groups of the population.
“Say No to Famine” creates the framework from which operations will be prepared to address the identified short, medium and long term interventions needed to cover the following broad areas: (i)
Immediately, address humanitarian needs specifically for South Sudan and Somalia, especially in terms of food assistance and logistical support to get food from food surplus to food deficit areas; (ii) In the medium term, build sustainable and resilient food systems that facilitate access to economically viable and nutritious food products for the affected populations and build resilience against cyclical food security challenges and drought; and (iii) Longer term, support to relevant Government institutions in setting up an enabling environment for commodity value chain development with embedded climate resilience actions, gender empowerment and engagement of the private sector. The framework focuses on immediate crisis response in the six highly affected countries mentioned above but is intended to be scaled up continent-wide later on to end the cyclical famines on the African continent, once and for all.
The Bank will use its convening power to launch the Alliance to End Famine in Africa. The Alliance will partner with humanitarian agencies, UN, development partners, corporate bodies, philanthropic organizations, and public figures to collectively work on “Say No to Famine”. Internal resources to be committed include the utilization of savings from recently completed operations, reconfiguring low disbursing operations and head rooms created to add new operations. “Say No to Famine” would provide support to drought affected countries in the short, medium and long term with a total estimated value UA 838.77 million (approximately USD 1.14 billion).