Aug 10, 2011 at 9:50am
Former President Rawlings talks on Somali drought
Former President Rawlings has called on Africa to rise up to the challenge when a pledging conference is held on August 25 to raise emergency funds for relief in Somalia and other countries in the Horn of Africa severely affected by drought and famine.
Former President Rawlings said in a bid to raise international awareness on the status of the crises in Somalia in particular, August 15 had been declared Somalia Day to be celebrated across the continent.
He said the pledging conference and the Somalia Day event had been decided following consultations with the Chairman of the African Union, President Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Jean Ping.
Speaking during a courtesy call on him by the new British High Commissioner to Ghana, Peter Jones, Flt-Lt.
Rawlings who is the African Union High Representation for Somalia and the Humanitarian Face for the Horn of Africa crises, said governments, private individuals, corporate institutions and the international community will all be at the pledging conference which aims to raise five hundred million dollars towards the relief effort.
Over twelve million people within the region have been affected by the famine.
Former President Rawlings thanked the government and people of British for the immense contributions they have made to support the plight of the people to Somalia.
He said the people of Somalia were very grateful for the support.
The UK government has pledged over ninety million pounds in aid to the affected region and had also committed eighty million pounds annually for the next three years, towards seeking peace in Somalia.
Individuals in the United Kingdom had also contributed twenty four million pounds to the relief efforts.
The AU High Representative said he was hopeful that the other members of the international community, particularly members of the Arab League will rise up to the call to support the Horn of Africa.
Former First Lady and President of the 31st December Women's Movement, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, lamented the plight of women and children in the affected region and said aside the food and health needs effort should be made to create educational opportunities for children to break the cycle of uneducated Somalia.
The British High Commissioner Peter Jones thanked Former President Rawlings for the role he was playing in Somalia.
He said the situation in the Horn of Africa needs international leadership and it was gratifying to see the former President take up the role of creating awareness on the dire situation in the East Africa Region.
Former President Rawlings is on an African sensitisation tour to brief leaders of Regional Economic Communities on the need to raise urgent African support for the Horn of Africa.
He will be travelling to Nigeria, Ethiopia, South Africa, Namibia and Congo Republic.