Sudan + 5 more

Food Aid to the African Countries through the World Food Programme (WFP)

News and Press Release
Originally published
1. The Government of Japan has decided to extend food aid totaling 1.5 billion yen (approximately 14 million dollars), through the World Food Programme (WFP), for returning displaced persons in the southern part of Sudan and the eastern and southern African countries. Notes to this effect were exchanged on July 26 (Tue) in Rome between Ms. Nobuko Matsubara, Japanese Ambassador to Italy, and Ms. Susana Malcorra, Deputy Executive Director of the WFP.

The breakdown of the food aid is as follows:

(1) For returning displaced persons to the southern part of the Republic of Sudan and receiving local community (530 million yen)

(2) For vulnerable persons suffering from food shortages caused by drought in the Republic of Kenya (250 million yen)

(3) For conflict-afflicted persons in the Republic of Uganda (displaced persons, refugees, socially vulnerable persons, etc.) (220 million yen)

(4) For vulnerable persons suffering from food shortages caused by drought in the Kingdom of Lesotho (100 million yen)

(5) For vulnerable persons suffering from food shortages caused by drought in the Republic of Malawi (200 million yen)

(6) For vulnerable persons suffering from food shortages caused by drought in the Republic of Mozambique (200 million yen)

2. After some 20 years of domestic conflict between north and south in Sudan, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was reached in January this year, and 500,000 displaced persons scattered around Sudan have already started to return to the south. It is expected that another 750,000 people will return within this year. In addition, the harvest has been decreased drastically in the southern part of Sudan because of the drought last year, causing serious food shortage among returning displaced persons and re-integrating local communities; about two million people are in urgent need of food. This food aid will provide wheat and maize to the displaced persons who will be returning to the south from other parts of Sudan and to residents of local communities receiving the returnees. Consolidation of peace without reverting to conflicts is an important challenge not only for peace and development of Africa but also for stability of the international community. From this viewpoint, Japan has expressed its commitment to support consolidation of peace in Sudan at the Donors' Conference on Sudan held in Oslo in April this year and announced its intention to provide a package of assistance totaling 100 million dollar for the near term. This food aid for Sudan is part of such efforts and is also intended to support the new regime of the Government of National Unity in Sudan, launched on July 9, 2005.

3. In the northern part of Uganda, an armed conflict between anti-government forces and the national army, which lasted for about 18 years, generated 1.6 million displaced persons in the country, of whom 1.38 million live in refugee camps and are facing a serious food shortage. As looting and kidnapping of children are rampant, the conflict in the northern part of Uganda is called the "forgotten crisis of Africa". It is hoped the conflict will head toward peace, in step with the progress of the peace process of neighboring Sudan. According to the WFP, the need for food aid will further increase in the future.

4. In the eastern and southern parts of Africa, drought has caused a serious hunger. In Malawi, 4.2 million persons are facing starvation and the Government of Malawi declared a state of emergency this year. Kenya, Lesotho and Mozambique have also been suffering from protracted food shortage caused by drought since the year before. Responding to appeals issued by WFP, Japan has decided to provide grant through the WFP, for the purchase of food as rice and maize, from a humanitarian viewpoint as well as to support stability of the region.

5. The issue of African development was discussed at the recently held G8 Gleneagles Summit and will be a major focus at the reviewing of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the United Nations Special General Assembly later this year. Japan is committed to make significant contribution toward alleviation of hunger and food shortage in Africa, in concert with the international community.

6. It is expected that the food aid would ease the food shortage of these African countries.