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WFP welcomes growing Japanese involvement in Africa

WFP has welcomed the growing role played by Japan – including the Japanese government, business, non-governmental organisations and citizens – in the fight against hunger in Africa.

WFP has welcomed the growing role played by Japan – including the Japanese government, business, non-governmental organisations and citizens – in the fight against hunger in Africa.

Together, we can help Africa become a place where people no longer fear hunger and peace can take hold

John Powell WFP’s Deputy Executive Director

Concluding their fourth annual consultation in Tokyo this week, WFP and the Government of Japan pledged to work even harder to promote human security and peace in Africa.

“The need for humanitarian aid in Africa is greater than ever. WFP projects that it will need at least US $2 billion to assist 42.6 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2007,” said John Powell WFP’s Deputy Executive Director, concluding the annual consultation with Government officials in Tokyo.

"Delighted"

“We are delighted that growing numbers of Japanese non-governmental organizations, private companies and individuals are bolstering their government’s steadfast support to the region.”

“WFP and Japan must address these critical issues. Together, we can help Africa become a place where people no longer fear hunger and peace can take hold,” added Powell.

WFP’s largest operation worldwide in Sudan is led by a Japanese national, Kenro Oshidari. He is just one of 55 Japanese WFP staff who work every day to relieve hunger.

Strong relationship

At the field level, WFP has established a strong relationship with Japanese partners in southern Sudan.

WFP provides food to trainees at the JICA vocational training center in Juba named Juba Multi-Service Training Center, and a Japanese NGO ADRA Japan provides WFP food packages to refugees returning home at way stations along the road.

Other Japanese NGOs will also start collaboration with WFP to assist returnees and conflict-affected people in the region.

The Government of Japan welcomed this trend and encouraged WFP to expand such collaborations with Japanese organisations in other countries.

Expanding collaboration

WFP and Japan reaffirmed the importance of their partnership and discussed ways in which to expand their collaboration in Africa, by building human security, consolidating peace, increasing field-level partnerships and assisting African institutions to strengthen their capacity to combat hunger.

As the largest provider of humanitarian food aid in Africa and the world, WFP operated projects for hungry and poor people in 38 countries in sub-Saharan Africa in 2006.

These included critical emergency relief for the victims of conflict, natural disasters and social protection for HIV/AIDS affected people.

Supplementary rations

Millions of African women and young children receive supplementary rations to fight the debilitating effects of malnutrition.

WFP food aid encourages children to attend school by providing nutritious meals and take home rations.

“In Japan school feeding supported the country’s recovery after the World War II. Japan’s people know very well the effectiveness of school feeding in economic and social development. We are sure that WFP and Japan can enhance human security by sharing our experiences,” said Powell.

Avian flu

WFP is also at the forefront of preparedness against a widespread outbreak of Avian and Human Influenza.

In many of the most complex emergencies, it ensures delivery of humanitarian supplies for the whole aid community and rehabilitation of roads to cut the cost of delivering aid.

These activities contribute significantly to promoting human security and consolidating peace on the continent, in line with the basic principles of Japanese ODA.

Both Japan and WFP are collaborating with the African Union under the framework of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), a development programme of the African Union designed to strengthen governments’ ability to deal with issues such as hunger and poverty.

Expertise

WFP brings its long experience and state of the art expertise in the areas of early warning, food security monitoring, climate risk management, and agricultural development to this initiative.

It has offered its assistance in these fields to the Government ahead of the Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV) and G-8 Summit, which will be held in Japan next year.

Historically, Japan has been one of WFP’s largest donors, although its contribution dropped from US $160.5 million in 2005 to US $72.3 million in 2006, 55 percent of which was directed to Africa. In addition, some US $1.2 million in cash donations were received from private sector donors in Japan in 2006.

Aid

At the G-8 Summit held in Gleneagles, Scotland in 2005, Japan promised to double its aid to Africa in the next three years.

“I understand that fiscal constraints have forced Japan to reduce its aid budget by 38 percent over the past decade. I am optimistic that the genuine concern for Africa shown by the Government during our consultation will see a return to the very high levels of assistance they have provided in the past,” said Powell.

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