BIG NEW CONTRIBUTION PROVES JAPAN'S GROWING LEADERSHIP ON AFRICA
Yokohama - The United Nations World Food Programme welcomed an aid package of some JPY 1.954 billion (US$ 19 million) from the Japanese Government to assist refugees, internally displaced persons and victims of natural disasters and poverty in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The donation was approved by the Japanese cabinet earlier today.
This major contribution gives special attention to Africa, with 70 percent of the package, JPY 1.354 billion (almost US$ 13 million), allocated to five WFP programmes in nine African countries.
"WFP is sincerely grateful for Japan's continuing support to Africa. It is a major step towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals and human security," said WFP Executive Director James Morris. "WFP's alliance with the Government of Japan is stronger than ever, and is vital to our efforts to halve the world's hungry by 2015."
While the international community has responded with unprecedented generosity to the tsunami crisis, WFP has called for equally generous help to the world's hungry poor. Twenty-five thousand people die of hunger and related causes every day - more than all deaths from AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. "Japan's leadership in African development gives real hope for the future of millions of children in Africa suffering from chronic malnutrition," said Morris.
The funds will be used to buy food such as rice, wheat flour, maize and sorghum.
Of the JPY 1.354 billion (US$ 13 million) for Africa, JPY 224 million (US$ 2.1 million) goes to Mali, Burkina Faso, and Ghana to assist refugees and people affected by the conflict in Cote d'Ivoire; JPY 310 million (US$ 3 million) is for food aid to refugees, displaced, and returnees in Sierra Leone and Guinea; JPY 320 million (US$ 3 million) will be used in Rwanda and Burundi to assist reintegration of returnees as well as refugees from the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo; JPY 200 million (US$ 1.9 million) will be spent in the Republic of Congo to support returnees and the post-war rehabilitation process; in southern Africa where drought and the HIV/AIDS pandemic have left 5.5 million people in need of food aid, JPY 300 million (US$ 2.9 million) will be used in Mozambique's school feeding programme.
Outside Africa, Japan is allocating JPY 150 million (US$ 1.4 million) to support Palestinians affected by the conflict, as part of Japan's overall efforts to promote the Middle East peace process. This is the first Japanese donation through WFP to support food aid for non-refugee Palestinians.
In Central America where frequent floods and droughts caused by the El Nino have resulted in food shortages, JPY 250 million (US$ 2.4 million) goes to WFP operations in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Finally, JPY 100 million (US$ 1 million) will be used for internally displaced persons and vulnerable groups in Georgia and the hungry poor people in Tajikistan.
Historically, Japan has almost always been one of WFP's top three donors. In 2004, Japan gave US $136 million (approximately ¥14 billion), ranking third, and in 2005, it is the second largest donor so far.
This year is marked by various international conferences, including the G-8 summit and the Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly, where African development and the Millennium Development Goals will be top on the agenda.
At their annual consultation on 3 and 4 March 2005, WFP and the Government of Japan reaffirmed their partnership to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, and human security. WFP's school feeding programme will work closely Japan's new African Village, part of its comprehensive aid package for Africa. This initiative is based on the notion of human security and aims at empowering local communities to meet their own needs with a multi-sectoral, holistic approach.
WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency: each year we give food aid to an average of 90 million people, including 56 million hungry children, in 80 countries.
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