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EU, Banks Pledge $8B for Horn of Africa Development

  • VOA News

FILE - A girl carries a bucket filled with water from a pond in a camp for internally displaced persons at the United Nations base in Bentiu, Unity State, South Sudan.

Countries in the Horn of Africa will receive more than $8 billion for development under a new initiative unveiled in Ethiopia on Monday.

Pledges from the European Union and three international development banks were announced as U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hosted a meeting of regional financial and political leaders in Addis Ababa.

The contributions will target eight countries in all - Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda - and are designed to reduce poverty and create economic growth and opportunities across the region.

The European Union pledged the largest amount, $3.7 billion. The World Bank and the African Development Bank pledged $1.8 billion each, while the Islamic Development Bank pledged $1 billion targeted to Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda.

Horn of Africa countries have huge untapped natural resources but most have been wracked by conflict that has undermined stability and slowed the growth of the countries' economies.

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said the financing is a major opportunity for people in the Horn of Africa to get access to clean water, nutritious food, health care, education and jobs.