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Large new contribution to WFP reaffirms Japan's growing commitment to Africa

WFP thanked Japan for a generous US$26 million donation from the Government of Japan to assist millions of vulnerable people affected by conflict and natural disasters in seven countries, mainly in Africa.

WFP has thanked Japan for a generous US$26 million donation from the Government of Japan to assist millions of vulnerable people affected by conflict and natural disasters in seven

This is proof of Japan’s strong commitment to achieving human security in Africa
Mihoko Tamamura, Director of WFP Japan Relations Office
countries, mainly in Africa.

The contribution, 80 per cent of which will go to five African nations, will be used to purchase cereals, pulses, fortified blended food and canned fish that will support refugees, internally displaced persons, malnourished children, pregnant women, and other chronically food insecure people.

The five African countries to receive funding from this Japanese donation are Sudan (US$7.9 million), Chad (US$2.4 million), Liberia (US$3.9 million), Sierra Leone (US$2.8 million) and Zimbabwe (US$3.9 million).

"Deeply grateful"

“WFP is deeply grateful for Japan’s continuing support. This is proof of Japan’s strong commitment to achieving human security in Africa,” said Mihoko Tamamura, Director of WFP Japan Relations Office.

“This contribution will provide hope to the most vulnerable people and help them rebuild their lives and countries,” she said.

This donation brings Japan’s total contribution to WFP for the year to US$64.2 million.

Development and peace

Japan is stepping up its support for development and peace in Africa. Next year it will host the fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) and the G8 summit which will devote some of its agenda to African issues.

In Sudan, where WFP has its largest current operation assisting 5.5 million people, conflict has uprooted a third of the population of the region of Darfur since 2003, and violence has intensified despite last year’s peace agreement. In the south, people are struggling to recover from the civil war that lasted 21 years.

Ranked the fifth poorest country in the world, Chad is suffering from chronic poverty and food insecurity which have been aggravated by various conflicts during its 40 years of independence.

WFP is assisting the internally displaced Chadians as well as over 260,000 refugees from Sudan and the Central African Republic, who have put additional pressure on the limited resources of the country and on the highly vulnerable local population.

Challenges

Liberia is going through a crucial transitional period from conflict to peace, following 14 years of armed conflict that ended in 2003.

With major challenges such as high unemployment rate, resettlement of displaced people, poor infrastructures and an increase in HIV/AIDS infection, WFP aims to reach more than 700,000 vulnerable people in 2007.

Sierra Leone had experienced 10 years of civil war, which had devastated the national economy and created large-scale social disruption.

Although displaced people have resettled and ex-combatants have been demobilised, 70 percent of the population still lives below the poverty line and the food security situation is dire. WFP aims to assist 680,000 people through various recovery programmes.

Zimbabwe risk

In Zimbabwe, a poor cereal harvest as well as a worsening economic crisis will leave more than four million people in Zimbabwe in need of food assistance by early next year.

More than a third of Zimbabwe’s estimated population of 11.8 million is expected to be at risk in the first three months of 2008 before the next harvest.

Outside Africa, US$3.2 million from the Japanese package will be granted to Afghanistan to assist 6.6 million vulnerable Afghans, whilst the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) will receive US$1.9 million.