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Djibouti seeks India aid for East Africa


Amami ONG, Nouakchott

Image by Ametxa via Flickr

Aug 10, 2011

(Mint – McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX

India is looking to improve economic and strategic links with Africa, identified as the world’s newest growth pole, but is yet to offer help to the countries of East Africa reeling under severe drought and famine.
Youssouf Omar Doualeh, ambassador of Djibouti, appealed to the Indian government for help on Tuesday at a business meet to release the India-Africa Manual, aimed at helping Indian investors keen on building and deepening links with Africa.
East Africa, including Djibouti, is facing a “humanitarian crisis”, Doualeh said about the region where the United Nations says 12 million people are in danger of starvation. “I appeal to the government of India to help,” he said.
Commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma did not directly reply to the appeal but said the problem emanating from drought and famine “was a concern for India”.
“It should be a concern for the world. It is our collective duty to ensure food security and share whatever we can,” said Sharma, adding the situation should not be the “concern of the countries of Africa alone”
India is looking to partner Africa in areas ranging from infrastructure building to education and skill development, Sharma said, adding that he hoped India-Africa trade would touch $70 billion by 2015 from $46 billion in 2010.
China and the US have already announced relief, with the former saying last week it had supplied 90 million yuan ($14 million) worth of food aid in response to the crisis, described by the UN as the worst to hit Africa since a 1991-1992 famine in Somalia.
On Monday, the US said it would offer $105 million to help millions of people facing starvation in the Horn of Africa.
India, in contrast, has not yet announced any package. “This certainly suggests that India is not getting its act together as professed and projected,” said K.V. Rajan, former secretary, east, in the ministry of external affairs.
He was referring to recent initiatives by India, including two India-Africa summits–one in New Delhi in April 2008, and the second in Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa this May, to regain influence on the continent.
“A quick response (to the famine situation) would have earned India considerable goodwill. These are matters of life and death, and these things get noticed in Africa. India should have done this spontaneously, like it used to in the past. I am a bit surprised at this,” said Ranjan.
The UN last month declared famine in two areas of southern Somalia, as the world slowly mobilized help for the 12 million battling hunger in the region’s worst drought in 60 years. Tens of thousands of people have already died, and parts of Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Djibouti are also hit by drought.
The UN estimates that $2.4 billion is required to address the crisis, which has hit Somalia the worst due to a relentless internal conflict and aid restrictions by Shebab rebels in areas under their control.
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About labo22

Hi, this is Labaale your average concerned citizen of Horn of Africa, we’re really worried about the stability of this war torn region, we have the worst dictators from around the world, ironically supported by the Western Countries supposedly the advocators of democracy, transparency, good governance and human Right, If regime change is really needed this is the place to start, we have no short of rootless dictators from MELES Zenawi of Ethiopia,ISMAIL Guelleh of Djibouti,RAYAALE Kahin of self-declared Somaliland and ISAIAS Afwerk of Eritrea.

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