World Bank Group President Jim Yong-Kim on Thursday said the bank was working toward raising 1.6 billion dollars to build social protection systems to end food insecurity in sub-Saharan Africa and Yemen.
In a statement made available to newsmen by the Head of Communications, World Bank Nigeria in Abuja, Mrs Olufunke Olufon, Yong-Kim said about 20 million people in Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia and Yemen were on the “tipping point” of famine.
“We at the World Bank Group stand in solidarity with the people now threatened by famine.
“We are mobilising an immediate response for Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen. Our first priority is to work with partners to make sure that families have access to food and water.
“We are working toward a financial package of more than 1.6 billion dollars to build social protection systems, strengthen community resilience, and maintain service delivery to the most vulnerable.’’
Yong-Kim said he was also working with the bank’s board of directors to secure the approval of new operations amounting to 770 million dollars, funded substantially through the International Development Association (IDA) Crisis Response Window.
“The World Bank Group will help respond to the immediate needs of the current famine, but we must recognise that famine will have lasting impacts on people’s health, ability to learn, and earn a living.
“So, we will also continue to work with communities to reclaim their livelihoods and build resilience to future shocks. We are coordinating closely with the UN and other partners in all areas of our response.
“We know that resolution to this acute crisis will not be possible without all humanitarian and development actors working together.
“We call on the international community to respond robustly and quickly to the UN global appeal for resources for the famine.’’
Famine was officially declared on Feb. 20 in South Sudan, impacting approximately 100,000 people.
There is a credible risk of famines in Yemen, Northeast Nigeria, and other countries, says United Nations (UN).
Ongoing conflicts and civil insecurity are further intensifying the food insecurity of millions of people across the region, and there is already widespread displacement and other cross-border spill over.
For instance, food insecurity in Somalia and famine in South Sudan are accelerating the flow of refugees into Ethiopia and Uganda.
The UN estimates that about 20 million people in Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia and Yemen are affected.