EU Commits €138m to Fund Development in Lake Chad Region

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Donor countries pledge $2bn

Alex Enumah in Abuja

The European Union yesterday announced the release of the sum of €138 million to assist vulnerable communities in Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon, saying the condition of people in the region has continued to get worse due to prolonged violence, insecurity and environmental degradation.

This is coming as donor countries yesterday pledged $2.17 billion to the drought-stricken area around Lake Chad, after a United Nations official warned that many millions in the African region still urgently needed help.

At a conference in Berlin attended by more than 70 states, international organisations and non-governmental organisations, donors pledged this sum would be made available “over coming years”, according to a German Foreign Ministry statement.

According to a statement from the Press Unit of the EU in Abuja, the amount which is a combination of humanitarian and development assistance is part of an overall EU aid package for the region worth €232million.

While speaking earlier yesterday at a high level conference on the Lake Chad region in Berlin, Germany, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides, said: “The disastrous effects of armed conflict and violence in the Lake Chad basin have had a serious impact in an area already plagued by poverty and the extreme effects of climate change.

“The EU is committed to continue to help the most vulnerable. Today, we are stepping up our humanitarian and development assistance. What is crucial is for all parties to the conflict to ensure full access throughout the region so that our aid can reach those in need.”

Meanwhile, donor countries yesterday pledged $2.17 billion to the drought-stricken area around Lake Chad.

The donors pledged this sum would be made available “over coming years”, Reuters quoted a statement by German Foreign Ministry as saying.

It would be supplemented by $467 million in cheap credits from development banks, the statement added.

A famine was averted in the region last year largely thanks to international aid, but millions of people in Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon were still in dire need of help, UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock told reporters.

“The crisis is not over. There are still 10 million people who need lifesaving assistance,” he said. “A quarter of the people we are trying to reach are displaced from their homes and the only means of staying alive they have is what is provided by humanitarian organisations.”

Germany, a leading destination for migrants including from Africa, pledged an extra 100 million euros ($116 million) for humanitarian aid in the region up to 2020. This was on top of 40 million euros in funding for stabilisation and conflict prevention efforts, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said.

His government has promised to help African nations improve conditions to keep people from embarking on dangerous journeys in the hope of reaching Europe.