AfDB approves major Drought Resilience and Sustainable Livelihood Programs in four Horn of Africa countries

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The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) has approved a US $133-million program that will help countries in the Horn of Africa region break free from cycles of drought and famine.

This second AfDB Group Drought Resilience and Sustainable Livelihoods Program in the region will help Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan to increase the income of agro-pastoralists through improved livestock production and related services (animal production and health, rangeland management, marketing, etc.) and the development of irrigation schemes.

Women and youth will particularly benefit from the project as specific activities (including value addition) will be designed to enhance their economic and social empowerment.

The project will focus on water resources development and sustainable land management to enhance livestock production, market access and trade through development of market support infrastructure, information and value chain system as well as improve livestock mobility and trade in livestock products.

Under the project, the diversification of the sources of livelihood as well as improvement and conservation of water resources will reduce the region’s vulnerability to climate change shocks and exposure to inter/intra-community conflicts that arise from competition over access to water sources for livestock. This will, in turn, contribute to fostering peace and social resilience within the target communities and countries.

This project is in fulfilment of AfDB’s commitment to the international community to increase support to countries in the region after an historic trip in October 2014 to the Horn of Africa by the UN Secretary-General, World Bank Group and Islamic Development Bank Presidents, along with high-level representatives of the African Union Commission, the European Union, the African Development Bank, and Intergovernmental Agency for Development.

An estimated 20 million agro-pastoralists (of which 50% are women) affected by drought and land degradation will directly benefit from the project. Other direct beneficiaries include the governments of the region whose capacities will be strengthened to enhance drought resilience activities, natural resources management and shared benefits, and regional integration.

A study commissioned by the AfDB in 2008 on sustainable livestock development in the Horn of Africa observed that as a result of serious degradation of natural resources due to overuse and climate change, conflicts among communities in many parts of the Greater Horn of Africa occur as communities compete for increasingly scarce resources within and across countries. A majority of these communities are nomads who do not respect national or subnational boarders and thus move easily across the borders to neighbouring countries in search of water and pasture, developing resources in one country would attract communities across the border, thereby fuelling conflict. Against this backdrop, developing and ensuring resources availability in neighbouring countries and communities would enhance conflict resolution.

Building on the study, the AfDB has designed a multi-phase program which has received pledges of US $300 million. The first phase of the Drought Resilience and Sustainable Livelihoods Program, approved by the AfDB Group Board in December 2012, is being implemented in Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya and the IGAD Secretariat. 

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