UN, Development Bank Leaders Launch Horn of Africa Initiative on High-Level Visit
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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced a US$8 billion initiative to reduce poverty, boost economic growth and promote business activity across the Horn of Africa, during a visit to the region with global and regional leaders.

The World Bank, African Development Bank (AfDB), Islamic Development Bank (IsDBG) and EU also made pledges to the Horn of Africa Initiative, which aims to enhance the regions's economic development and its food and water security, among other aims.

wb.un27 October 2014: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced a US$8 billion initiative to reduce poverty, boost economic growth and promote business activity across the Horn of Africa, during a visit to the region with global and regional leaders. The World Bank, African Development Bank (AfDB), Islamic Development Bank (IsDBG) and EU also made pledges to the Horn of Africa Initiative, which aims to enhance the regions’s economic development and its food and water security, among other aims.

The leaders’ visit began in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 27 October 2014. The Horn of Africa also includes Djibouti, Eritrea, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda. According to the UN, while the region has untapped natural resources and some of the world’s fastest growing economies, many countries are experiencing poverty, unemployment and gender inequality and are vulnerable to corruption, drug trafficking, piracy and violence.

The Horn is also predicted to undergo “dramatic and lasting change” when oil production begins in Kenya, Uganda and possibly Ethiopia and Somalia, according to a Working Paper by the World Bank. The paper highlights “encouraging signs” of strong political will to solve development and security issues through cooperation and enhanced regional economic interdependence.

Noting that Horn of Africa countries are making progress towards economic growth and political stability, Ban said “now is a crucial moment to support these efforts, end the cycles of conflict and poverty and move from fragility to sustainability.”

World Bank President Jim Kim stressed the opportunity for the Horn of Africa “to break free from its cycles of drought, food insecurity, water insecurity and conflict by building up regional security, generating a peace dividend…and spurring more cross-border cooperation.” He pledged US$1.8 billion for regional cross-border activities to enhance economic development and ensure access to clean water, nutritious food, education, health care and jobs. The financing also will support increased regional links among the countries, strong information and communications technology (ICT) and broadband connectivity and cross-border trade.

The EU committed US$3.7 billion until 2020, which includes targeted support to boost growth, reduce poverty by promoting resilience and create economic opportunities. IsDBG announced US$1 billion to Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda, its four member countries in the Horn of Africa, with a focus on food security, human and infrastructure development and trade. AfDB pledged US$1.8 billion to the Initiative over the next three years.

Ban is leading the international delegation “to ensure a coherent and coordinated approach towards peace, security and development to the Horn of Africa.” It is his third joint visit to Africa with Kim. [UN Press Release] [UN Note to Correspondents] [Publication: Regional initiative in support of the Horn of Africa] [UNECA Press Release] [World Bank Press Release]

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