AFRICA - The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group has announced a relief package of US$549 million in support of 14 countries most affected by the ongoing drought in Eastern and Southern Africa.
The drought response package consists of US$5 million in emergency relief and US $361 million in short-to-long term support from various windows of the Bank’s financial instruments representing new financial resources.
The Bank will also put in place a mechanism that would 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.
The AfDB acknowledged the severe impact of the El Niño weather pattern that is associated with abnormally high temperatures and the worst drought the region has seen in decades, leaving almost 36 million people in need of food assistance.
Currently, Eastern and Southern Africa are experiencing severe droughts that have disrupted crop and livestock production systems in about 14 countries.
Noting the urgency for this response, AfDB President Akiwumi Adesina has emphasized that there will be greater flexibility in the use of AfDB’s financial instruments, speeding up disbursements.