New alliance to help weather food insecurity in the Horn

The U.S. Agency for International Development’s Development Credit Authority shares risk with Ethiopian banks, to open financing for underserved but credit-worthy borrowers. USAID and several development partners has launched an initiative to reduce food insecurity, build new partnerships with the private sector and spur economic activity in Ethiopia and other Horn of Africa countries. Photo by: Morgana Wingard

An international initiative was launched at the two-day Intergovernmental Authority on Development conference in Nairobi, Kenya. Hint: It follows through on the U.S. Agency for International Development’s priorities this year.

USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah has said it before: The agency will help build the resilience of countries, instead of just responding to crises. And on Wednesday (April 4), the agency entered into a partnership with other development actors to bolster this plan.

The Global Alliance for Action for Drought, Resilience and Growth aims to reduce food insecurity, build new partnerships with the private sector and spur economic activity in the Horn of Africa through smart agricultural strategies and investments. Donors present at the conference committed more than $4 billion to the initiative. This includes USAID’s plans to commit more than $280 million in the region in 2011 and 2012.

The initiative comes at the onset of the rainy season in the region. On April 3, the Famine Early Warning System Network noted that the rains until May in the eastern part of the Horn will “not be adequate” and would “likely negatively affect” food security. The United States announced two days later a separate funding close to $50 million in humanitarian aid for refugees and drought-affected communities in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya.

Countries in the Horn of Africa are still recuperating from the food crisis brought on by the drought last year — reportedly the region’s worst in 60 years.

Kristalina Georgieva, European commissioner for international cooperation, humanitarian aid and crisis response, also discussed the European Union’s “Supporting Horn of Africa Resilience” initiative at the conference. The commission has earlier announced it will invest €250 million ($327 million) in SHARE, which will run until 2020.

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About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.