AU famine meet raises $351m, figure questioned

Fri Aug 26, 2011 12:03pm GMT

By Barry Malone

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - A much-delayed African Union summit held to raise money to tackle famine in Somalia and drought in the Horn of Africa held on Thursday raised $351 million officials said, but activists questioned the figure.

Out of the $351 million announced by Jean Ping, chairman of the AU commission, $300 million came from the African Development Bank, to be spent over a four-year period, not to be used to bridge a $1.4 billion shortfall aid groups say they need for the emergency.

About 12 million people need emergency food across the "triangle of death" region, straddling Somalia - where famine was declared in five regions - Kenya and Ethiopia.

"This is what we pledged today," said Ping. "It is new money and it is exclusively African."

Of the remaining $51 million announced, many of the donations appear to have been announced before and donations came from less than half of the AU's 54 members.

"We counted about $46 million in cash pledges," Irungu Houghton, pan Africa policy director for aid group Oxfam, told Reuters.

"Just 21 countries made pledges out of 54 and, of the $46 million, $20 million came from three states - Algeria, Angola, and Egypt."

Activists singled out Africa's economic powerhouses Nigeria and South Africa for criticism after Nigeria pledged just $2 million and South Africa's figure of $10 million was questioned.   Continued...

An internally displaced malnourished child receives food supplements at a mobile medical facility at the Hiran IDP settlement in Galkayo, northwest of Somalia's capital Mogadishu, July 18, 2011.   REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya
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