WFP chief seeks funding help for Central Africa's struggling aid programmes

22 January 2002

Although donors have given generously to victims of war and natural disaster in Central Africa, the international community must not to lose sight of the region's severely under-funded long-term development programmes, the head of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) warned today.

Although donors have given generously to victims of war and natural disaster in Central Africa, the international community must not to lose sight of the region's severely under-funded long-term development programmes, the head of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) warned today.

Speaking in Yaounde, Cameroon, at the opening of the agency's new regional bureau for Central Africa, WFP Executive Director Catherine Bertini said that half of the region's long-term development projects have received little funding at all. That follows a trend in recent years in which WFP's resources for global development programmes have steadily declined, with funds almost halved since 1996 and an all-time low of $243 million available last year, she added.

The lack of project financing poses a particular challenge to projects in Central Africa, however, as three of the seven countries that run development programmes have received less than 50 per cent of the funds they need.

"WFP's development programmes are essential to haul people out of the cycle of hunger and poverty, giving them a chance to build for their future," Ms. Bertini said. "If we help families invest in their future, and become more secure in their food needs, they will be able to cope better when disaster strikes."

The new regional bureau, known as Operations Division Yaounde (ODY), will enable the UN agency to put its strategic resources - such as key personnel and decision-making powers - closer to the millions who need food aid, Ms. Bertini said.

ODY will help fight poverty and hunger in the region's nine countries: Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of Congo, Ghana and Sao Tome.

 

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