International donors pledge $2.5 billion to fight Boko Haram

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Donors at the international conference on Boko Haram holding in Berlin have pledged $2.52 billion (2.17 billion euros) to help countries in the Lake Chad Basin fight Boko Haram.

Germany’s foreign ministry said the aid would be disbursed “in the coming years” to Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon, where the jihadist group launched frequent suicide bomb attacks from its bases in Lake Chad.

The two-day conference which kicked off was attended by more than 70 states, international organisations and non-governmental organizations. It raised $672 million in 2017.

Mark Lowcock, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator and Head, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, thanked donors for the generous donations.

Mr Lowcock said: “Your contribution at the Lake Chad Berlin conference will help us deliver life-saving humanitarian assistance throughout the Lake Chad Basin. “This support is crucial to ensuring that life-saving assistance reaches all those in need.”

The conference focused on humanitarian assistance, civilian protection, crisis prevention and stabilisation for the region and sought to raise $1.56 billion while Lowcock had projected more than one billion dollars.

Donations and pledges by countries as monitored by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) were Germany, the host country, 265 million Euros and Norway, 125 million dollars. The others were United States, 420 million dollars; Switzerland, 20 million dollars; France, 131 million Euros; Belgium, 45 million Euros; Finland, 2.3 million Euros; and Denmark, 72.5 million.

NAN reports that United Kingdom donated 146 million pounds; Canada, CAD, 68 million dollars; European Union, 231.5 million Euros; Luxembourg, 40 million Euros and Spain, 3.2 million Euros.

Mr Lowcock said famine was averted in the region last year largely due to international aid, but that millions of people in Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon were still in dire need of help.

The UN humanitarian chief, however, cautioned that “the crisis is not over. There are still 10 million people who need life-saving assistance.

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