AFDB announces $549 mln relief package for drought hit countries

AFDB announces $549 mln relief package for drought hit countries

HARARE, April 4 (The Source) – The African Development Bank (AFDB) has announced a $549 million relief package for 14 countries most affected by the ongoing drought in Eastern and Southern Africa.

A regional drought worsened by the El Niño weather phenomenon has affected South Africa, Malawi and Zambia as well as Zimbabwe, leaving up to 36 million people in need of food aid.

In February, Zimbabwe declared a state of disaster in rural areas hit by a severe drought, with more than a quarter of the population facing food shortages and appealed to local businesses and charities for $1,5 billion in aid.

AFDB President Akinwumi Adesina, said the drought response package consists of $5 million in emergency relief and $361 million in short to long-term support from various windows of the Bank’s financial instruments.

“This amount represents new financial resources. Also, the AfDB will put in place a mechanism that will ensure faster disbursements of funds in ongoing projects, which were designed to build the affected countries’ resilience to drought. This will make available an additional amount of US $183 million in 2016,” he said in a statement.

Adesina added that there would be greater flexibility in the use of the bank’s financial instruments.