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WFP Works with Saudi Arabia on Sustainable Solutions for Hunger in Africa

WFP Works with Saudi Arabia on Sustainable Solutions for Hunger in Africa

Thursday, 3 October, 2019 - 10:15
WFP Regional Director for Eastern and Central Africa Erika Jorgensen speaks to Asharq Al-Awsat (photo file: Saad al-Enezi)

The World Food Program (WFP) revealed it has been working with Saudi Arabia to find sustainable and smart solutions to face the effects of climate change in the Horn of Africa and help citizens to achieve peace and stability.

It said 13.7 million people are suffering from these effects in Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Somalia.

WFP Regional Director for Eastern and Central Africa Erika Jorgensen told Asharq Al-Awsat on the sidelines of her visit to Riyadh that she has discussed with Saudi officials means of addressing poverty and hunger and exchanging expertise and partnership in the Horn of Africa on the short and long terms.

“We discussed with leaders of King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) the possibility of short-term action to address hunger and poverty and provide emergency assistance, especially for children and women,” Jorgensen said.

She said they also discussed means of exchanging their expertise to develop innovative solutions and avoid worsening the situation in the long term.

The WFP Director stressed that the Kingdom attaches great importance to peace and stability in the Horn of Africa and is much aware that this is achieved through providing food security for its residents.

“Yes, they are providing us with assistance, and we are of course asking for more.”

She pointed out that the Kingdom has just provided funding to build institutional capacity in Somalia for humanitarian response and is helping to feed students in schools.

“As you know, Africa is intertwined, complex and has open-borders, and the situation must be responded to at the internal level in order to avoid displacement and more refugees, who are joining armed groups because of hunger,” she explained.

WFP and Saudi Arabia could focus on smart solutions leading to hydroponics, she said, adding that they have developed a technology to control some pests that damage crops.

Climate change effects have become a reality in four African countries - Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia.

She noted that some of the four countries suffering from climate change have already taken individual initiatives to address the phenomena.

Ethiopia has allocated $288 million to respond to the effects of climate change, Jorgensen said, adding that so did Kenya, which has allocated $78 million of its budget.

“We should acknowledge these countries’ role played in trying to protect their populations from the effects of climate change.”

Jorgensen also pointed out that the WFP in Eastern and Central Africa needs nearly $550 million by February 2020 to be able to complete its projects.

However, it has only been provided by $270 million so far, she said.

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