The aid budget to East and Central African countries is being cut by £28m, despite fears famine is looming for people in East Africa.
The announcement came last week (30 March) from Andrew Mitchell, the Minister of State for Development and Africa, who outlined plans to cut funding to the region by 6% in 2023/24, compared to the previous year.
This is despite countries like Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia suffering the worst drought for 40 years and millions of people facing life-threatening malnutrition.
The situation is expected to get even worse this year, as experts predict the rains in April and May will once again be below normal levels.
Kayode Akintola, Head of Africa region for CAFOD said:
“The situation in East Africa is as bad as I’ve ever known it, livestock’s dying, crops have been destroyed and people are starving.
“Our partners on the ground are doing everything they can to respond to the crisis, but the need is growing each day. The people tell me they feel abandoned and are losing faith.
“The decision to take more money away from people who need our help urgently is shameful. We need the UK to reverse this decision and act to provide proper funding to East Africa before it is too late.”
It has been reported that over 36 million people in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia have been impacted by the drought with over 21 million people in need of food assistance.
The situation is expected to worsen this year and the Famine Early Warning Systems Network predicts that Somalia will face famine in 2023.
In Marsabit, Kenya, CAFOD’s partners who are responding to the food crisis are witnessing need on an unprecedented scale. In this rural community, livestock and crops have been lost on an enormous scale.
The world leading authority on hunger and malnutrition, Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), found that one in ten people in Marsabit are facing emergency food levels of food insecurity.
The decision to cut funding is particularly concerning, when compared with the amount provided to East Africa in the last hunger crisis in 2017-18, when the region received £861 million.
This is a crisis the government cannot ignore. Yet, the FCDO bilateral aid for the region has been cut. The UK government needs to reverse these potentially devastating cuts before it is too late.