Famine: Opportunity to seek lasting peace in Somalia – Rawlings

Jerry Rawlings

Former President and African Union High Representative for Somalia, Jerry John Rawlings, says the current famine in the Horn of Africa is an opportunity for the continent to pool its resources to seek lasting peace in Somalia.

President Rawlings said: “Somalia¹s conflict situation has persisted for 20 years, but the current famine, terrible as it is, is an opportunity for the continent to come together as one voice supporting the Horn Africa with significant humanitarian aid and also play diverse roles in seeking lasting solutions to the conflict.”

A statement issued  by the Former President’s Office said he was speaking at an African Union ceremony in Addis Ababa on Monday to mark “One Africa ­ One Voice Against Hunger” Day, aimed at further highlighting the drought and famine in the Horn of Africa.

He said: “Twelve million people face imminent death if we fail to act. There is still a significant shortfall in terms of the financial and logistical support required to bring the situation under control. Africa cannot wait to show love to its brothers and sisters who are in dire need. Africa cannot afford to fail this time.”

He said the event was a significant step towards rediscovering the unique bond that used to bind this continent.

Former President Rawlings said since his visit to Mogadishu a few weeks earlier where he witnessed the horrid scenes that the famine had brought on the people of Somalia, the whole world had risen up to the challenge.

He said the call for a Pledging Conference to seek a strong African response to the humanitarian crises indicated the desire of Africa to rise up to the challenge and support its own.

“The rest of the world may be supporting Somalia, but they would have done more had we not failed as a continent to come to the aid of the people of Darfur when it mattered most,” he stated.

Former President Rawlings said the call for pledges was not only to political leaders and asked: “What about corporate Africa who have benefited immensely from our rich resources?”

He said: “Many of you have made significant contributions to social responsibility causes in your countries.  The time has come to make your voice heard across your individual countries.  The situation in the Horn of Africa has the unfortunate potential of negatively affecting the rest of the continent socially, economically, culturally and politically.  We cannot afford to allow this to happen.”

Former President Rawlings congratulated Algeria for pledging $10 million to the cause, while Nigeria and some other countries have promised to make significant pledges.

The United Kingdom has also contributed £45 million towards mediating the impact of the famine in the Horn of Africa region.

Source: GNA

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