Thursday March 27 2014

Igad heads to tackle drought

Minister of State for Water Betty Bigombe (L)

Minister of State for Water Betty Bigombe (L) with Africa Development Bank director of agriculture and agro-industry Chiji Ojukwa at the Igad conference in Munyonyo on Wednesday. PHOTO BY STEPHEN WANDERA 

By Risdel Kasasira


Regional leaders from the East and Horn of Africa are meeting today in Kampala to discuss initiatives to help drought-prone areas in the region become more resistant to harsh climatic conditions.

Leaders from seven countries under the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad) will discuss proposed investment initiatives worth billions of dollars intended to end severe drought effects in the region. President Museveni will chair the meeting.

The executive secretary of Igad, Amb Mahboub Maalim, said recurring and severe droughts in the region had become sources of famine, insecurity and death of people and animals.

“East Africa is dominantly semi-arid and arid. Our people live in the face of climatic disasters. We are here to discuss initiatives that will mitigate these disasters,” Amb Maalim said.

This is the second summit held since 2010/2011 drought that displaced 10 million people in Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya.

It is not clear how many presidents have confirmed participation but Somali Prime minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed is already in Uganda.
The summit is preceded by meeting of technocrats from member states and donors who have been meeting since Monday.

Agenda: Irrigation, forestation, drought-resistant crops, energy and road construction are some of the initiatives on the agenda.

Affected areas: Karamoja in Uganda, Dadaab in northern Kenya, Afar and Oromia in Ethiopia are some of the dry and semi-arid areas that lack infrastructure which has caused misery to the pastoral communities living in these areas.