The African Union is to set up an African Humanitarian Agency to handle emergency situations in the continent. Mr. Olabisi Dare, Head Humanitarian Affairs and Displaced Persons at the AU, told newsmen in Nairobi that the agency would coordinate all relief work on the continent. He said already, feasibility studies on the setting up of the agency have been concluded while a technical committee would meet in March next year to assess the studies.
Dare said the Heads of State were expected to adopt the report and eventually approve the setting up of the agency at their meeting in June 2018. He said the agency would set up response teams in different regions of the continent to ensure quick response to emergency situations. It would also use existing structures in member countries to train personnel and provide logistics for addressing emergency situations in the continent. On funding of the agency, Dare said a donors’ conference would hold early next year while an Emergency Assistance Fund would be set to ensure constant flow of funds to the agency. Dare said the Fund would be managed by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and would be replenished every year. He said the plan was to solicit funding from the private sector instead of traditional donors which are largely governments and development partners.
Dare said he was confident that the private sector would donate to the project since adequate provisions would be made to ensure transparency in the management of the money realised. “We have high network of rich individuals, foundations and companies in Africa who will be ready to donate. “Much depends on your homework and how you intend to govern the funds realised. We will assure donors that there will be transparency.’’ Dare said. Dare also told newsmen that the Heads of State are expected to ratify a Common African Position on Humanitarian Effectiveness at the AU Summit schedule in January 2018. He said the document was expected to guide member states to effectively respond to humanitarian situations in their respective countries. He said the document provided necessary guidelines in dealing with humanitarian situations and had addressed such issues as primary responsibilities of states, addressing root causes and providing durable solutions to humanitarian crises, role of host communities as well as protection and assistance of affected populations, among others. Dare said the document also provided for a 10-year implementation plan which was developed through consensus, as well as monitoring and evaluation of humanitarian responses.