AU leaders come under pressure to pledge aid for Horn of Africa

African Union (AU) leaders attending a summit meeting on Thursday are under pressure to pledge significant amounts of aid for over 12 million people affected by famine, drought and conflict in the Horn of Africa.

African leaders gathering in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, will be expected to promise over $50m to the AU humanitarian disaster fund based on a pre-existing formula for contributions to the AU. Last month, the organisation announced it was to give $300,000 to the UN refugee agency, the UNHCR, to assist Somalis living in camps in Somalia – where a famine has been declared in five regions – and in neighbouring countries.

The AU has a peacekeeping force in Somalia propping up the weak transitional government against al-Shabaab and other Islamist militants.

“African governments need to demonstrate global leadership by making meaningful contributions to the emergency humanitarian relief effort,” said Irungu Houghton, Oxfam’s pan-Africa director, who will attend the meeting. “We also need to break the cycle of drought and famine. Africa must stop lurching from crisis to crisis. This was an entirely preventable crisis. African governments and civil society need to work together to make sure this is Africa’s last famine.”

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