Zapatero offers 240 million aid package to fight hunger in Africa
This week the Spanish President, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, has committed 240 million euros to fighting hunger in Africa. The announcement came in a meeting with 14 other heads of state from Sub-Saharan Africa during the first bilateral summit between Spain and the Economic Community of Western African States which is currently taking place in Nigeria.
Zapatero defended the need to maintain and increase development aid despite the economic crisis. He said that the crisis ‘affected everybody but when it hit those that already suffered from hunger and poverty the consequences are much more devastating because they are measured in human lives’. He added that ‘the developed world cannot sit back and ignore their responsibilities’.
The 240 million aid package promised by the Spanish president yesterday forms part of the 200 million euros a year aid (1000 euros over a 5 year period) that Spain announced during the conference on food security held by the UN body the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) in Madrid last January.
It is anticipated that the plan will be approved on 10th July in L’Aquilla (Italy), at the end of the G8 summit and in a meeting of 20 countries to which Zapatero has been invited.
Yesterday’s declaration also includes 15 million euros aid over a 5 year period for the preparation of infrastructure projects and 7 million euros to support the renewable energy centre in Praia.
The text proposes supporting ‘the consolidation of democratic processes’ and the ‘fight against the rise in human, arms and drug smuggling’. However, the final communication from the summit fails to address the serious problem of corruption in countries like Nigeria where more than 70% of the 140 million inhabitants live below the poverty line despite the fact that Nigeria is the biggest oil producer in Africa producing 1.
7 million barrels a day.
Zapatero has also offered to host the second summit of the Economic Community of Western African States in the Canary Islands although no date has been fixed yet.