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Rich African Nations sit on the Sidelines as Somalis Starve

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Special to the NNPA from the Global Information Network –

Only four African nations have contributed emergency funds for drought-stricken Somalia, and the amounts donated have been pitifully small, according to the British aid agency Oxfam.

Despite the many oil-rich countries around the continent, only South Africa, Namibia, Kenya and Sudan have stepped up to the plate, said Irungu Houghton of Oxfam.

The African Union initially announced a contribution of around $500,000 as did Namibia. South Africa also announced an initial contribution of more than $150,000. But Oxfam’s Anne Mitaru called such contributions “unacceptable.”

“When you look at the South African economy, one of the largest, actually the biggest economy on the continent, $150,000 is a poor show," said Mitaru. “African governments may not have the resources to entirely meet the funding gap,” said Houghton, “but they must make a decent contribution and show the true meaning of African solutions to African problems.”

The newly-organized Africans Act 4 Africa, known as AA4A, also criticized the continent for not pulling its financial weight. “Governments must give a reasonable fraction of the $1.4 billion still needed if the humanitarian disaster in the Horn of Africa is to be stopped, they declared.

Tens of thousands of Somalis have died in the current famine and more than 12 million people are in desperate need of food aid.

The United States has been the biggest international donor to date, with about $580 million in aid this year. Britain is the second-biggest donor at $205 million, followed by Japan and Australia. Saudi Arabia, the biggest donor from the Muslim world, is next at $60 million.

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