From JEAN OSCAR-PIERRE in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea
Six African countries have helped raise US$17 million (R250 million) aimed at tackling issues such as hunger and diseases on the continent.
Another $30 million (R441 million) was pledged during the inaugural donor conference held in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.
The host country, together with Angola, Eswatini, Guinea Bissau,
Mauritania and Zimbabwe raised and pledged the funds during the event themed “Regional Integration for Africa’s Economic Prosperity”, held alongside United Nations (UN) donor agencies and African Development Bank (AfDB).
Addressing delegates, Equatorial Guinea President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, urged other African countries to come to the party to ensure the continent resolved own food shortages and diseases.
AfDB lauded the countries that heeded their call saying new innovations were required to improve agricultural production in order to address food shortages.
Jennifer Blanke, AfDB vice president for agriculture, human and social development, lamented African continent heavily depended on food imports.
"It’s so important that ASTF (Africa Solidarity Trust Fund) is showing that African countries are contributing to Africa....that links very closely to what we are doing," Blanke said.
She called on the continent member states to explore technologies that would ensure bumper harvest to farmers in the face of climatic changes.
Diseases such as Ebola, which in 2014 killed a record 11 315 people in
West African countries such as Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria and Sierra Leone were sighted as potential health threat.
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is also battling an Ebola outbreak that has claimed some 1 400 people, worsened by civil war.
During the launch of ASTF, Angola donated $10 million, China gave $2,6 million, France donated 2 million Euros, Equatorial Guinea $2 million and $100,000 from Zimbabwe.
An additional $30 million is expected to be raised during the course of the ASTF, with UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), AfDB and international partners including China expected to contribute. - CAJ News