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UK and Saudi Arabia pledge $5m to tackle rising levels of malnutrition in Somalia

Monday May 6, 2024
By  Gillian Duncan

Money will provide water, sanitation and hygiene services to 50,000 women and children

A nurse attends to a patient who is suffering from severe malnutrition in Bay Regional Hospital in Baidoa, Somalia, in June 2022. AP

Britain and Saudi Arabia have pledged $5 million to tackle rising levels of malnutrition in Somalia.

The money, which has been donated through Unicef, will provide water, sanitation and hygiene services to 50,000 women and children in the country, which has been affected by conflict and drought.

It has been pledged as part of an existing partnership which has seen Britain and Saudi Arabia already commit $22 million to support people affected by conflict.

The partnership has donated to projects providing famine relief and humanitarian support in Somalia and Sudan.

Further co-operation is expected, with additional joint humanitarian and development projects planned for Sudan, Yemen, Bangladesh, and Ukraine.

The latest funding was announced during the second UK-Saudi Strategic Dialogue on Humanitarian Aid and International Development in Riyadh on Monday, which will discuss efforts to provide more aid for Gaza and encourage progress towards peace in Sudan.

The programmes will be delivered through KSrelief and the Saudi Fund for Development, the Kingdom’s primary aid and development agencies.

Deputy Foreign Secretary and Minister of State for Development and Africa, Andrew Mitchell, said: “I am delighted to be in Riyadh to agree a way forward to scale up significantly joint funding which will go a long way to supporting those people and communities who need it most, building on today’s announcement.

“I also discussed the need to bring the conflict in Gaza to a sustainable end with my Saudi partners. The UK remains focused on achieving an immediate pause in the fighting, securing the release of hostages, and ensuring aid reaches those who need it.”

The Deputy Foreign Secretary will also sign a Joint Co-operation Agreement with the Saudi Fund for Development to strengthen work on UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Supervisor general of King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre and Adviser to the Royal Court, Dr Abdullah Al Rabeeah, said: “Looking ahead, we look forward to enhancing our technical experience and capacity-building by building upon the strong foundation established during our previous dialogue, which presents an invaluable opportunity to solidify our future direction, explore new areas of co-operation, and further demonstrate the transformative potential of our partnership.”

“Officials from both sides are actively identifying promising opportunities for further collaboration. KSrelief sees immense potential to leverage our respective strengths in areas like health interventions, education infrastructure development, and livelihood creation programmes.”

Mr Mitchell is also expected to meet the Vice Foreign Minister, Waleed Al Khereiji; Deputy Foreign Minister and Climate Envoy, Adel Al Jubeir; chief executive of the Saudi Fund for Development, Sultan Al Marshad; and assistant finance minister and G20 Sherpa, Abdulmuhsen Al Khalaf.


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