Fifty-six million Africans need humanitarian assistance, finds AfDB

5 Jul 16

More than 56 million people in Africa need humanitarian assistance, while more than 17 million are displaced across the continent, according to the African Development Bank.

In a report, the bank states that this is largely due to conflict and disasters, and highlights that in the future, poverty will be concentrated in countries in ‘fragile situations’.

It suggests a range of options to prevent this, but said it was “not possible” to avoid existing risks altogether. Rather, they should be identified and mitigated.

The AfDB presented its report, Leaving no one behind: The role of ADF in supporting fragile situations, at the 14th Replenishment of the African Development Fund in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

It cites several reasons for fragility, from political instability, institutional weakness, poor governance and security concerns, to structural challenges of undiversified economies, urbanisation and climate change.

According to the paper, the AfDB has increased the amount of funding to militate against fragility. As of March 31 2016, 43% of all African Development Bank resources were allocated toward fragile situations, compared to 17% in September 2012.

Currently, around $6.7m is earmarked to finance youth pilot entrepreneurship projects in Burundi, Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

It is expected that these schemes will be scaled up under the bank’s Jobs for Youth in Africa Initiative, which seeks to create 25 million jobs for young Africans by 2025.

Drought is also a major focus for the bank, which is working with organisations at the community, governmental and regional levels, to target vulnerable groups and building institutional capacity. Recently, the bank provided a relief package of $549m to 14 countries in drought-stricken Eastern and Southern Africa.

The report also highlights the importance of involving women. “Empowering women needs to be part of any engagement in these environments,” it stated, citing the recent Post-Ebola Recovery Social Investment Fund, which had a special emphasis on women

The bank recently confirmed five target areas to transform the continent by accelerating economic transformation: lighting and powering Africa; feeding Africa; industrialising Africa; integrating Africa; and, improving quality of life for people in Africa.

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