Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Minister of State for Foreign Affairs in charge of Regional Cooperation, John Mulimba, has called for concerted efforts to avert the ongoing refugee and internal displacement crisis in Africa.
Mulimba, noting Uganda currently hosts more than 1.58 million refugees, has called for strong international support for refugees and host communities in Uganda and elsewhere across the continent.
The Minister made the remarks during the First China-Horn of Africa Peace, Good Governance and Development Conference, lasting from June 20 to 21 in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia.
“Africa continues to face some of the most complex humanitarian emergencies,” Mulimba said, as he emphasized that humanitarian emergencies in Africa often lead to mass displacement of persons, both within and across national borders.
He called for strong support to countries and communities facing the brunt of humanitarian catastrophes, which causes large-scale influx of refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
“We call for increased support to refugees, IDPs, and host communities, including through the provision of adequate, flexible, predictable, and consistent humanitarian financing to enable host countries and communities to respond to immediate humanitarian and long-term development needs,” he told the regional peace and development conference.
The official emphasized that inadequate funding affects the protection of refugees as well as the provision of food, health, education and shelter.
Mulimba further called for enhanced regional and international commitment to address the root causes of the refugee and IDP crisis in Africa.
He emphasized the need to create conditions that are conducive to their voluntary return in safety and dignity, which in turn requires maintaining peace and security.
Uganda hosts the largest refugee population in Africa mainly from South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Burundi, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
The high-level regional peace and development conference brought together ministers and senior officials of Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Uganda and Djibouti who were joined by Xue Bing, Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Affairs of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
At the conference, Xue reiterated China’s resolve to continue supporting Horn of Africa (HOA) countries in their efforts toward sustainable peace, security and regional development.
Xue also underscored China’s readiness to support HOA countries to focus on development, accelerate regional integration, enhance connectivity, boost home-grown economic development, explore complementarity among one another, and step up cooperation in areas including agriculture, trade, manufacturing and infrastructure with a view to foster industrial and economic belt areas and create more jobs and growth.
He also called on the international community to step up investment in the region and make greater contributions to the independent and sustainable development of the region and Africa in general.