By Argaw Ashine (AfricaReview),
Almost all invited heads of state were absent from the African Union’s fundraiser here for the drought-ravaged Horn of Africa, despite the bloc having pushed back the event by three weeks in order to get more high level attendance.
Only host Meles Zenawi, AU chairman and Equatorial Guinea President, Obiang Nguema Mbasogo and the President of worst-hit Somalia, Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, attended the Thursday event at the UN’s compound in Addis Ababa that raised $51.7 million while ADB gave $300 milliion.
The Ugandan embassy here had also indicated that President Yoweri Museveni would attend the event but he was also a no-show. Rwanda sent its prime minister, Bernard Makuza while most other countries were represented by their ambassadors.
Mr Museveni is however expected for Friday’s AU Libyan crisis meeting which would bring together 15 heads of state meeting of the bloc’s Peace and Security Council, the organ responsible for effecting decisions agreed on by the organisation.
Only half of the 53 member countries showed up, raising $51.7 million while the African Development Bank gave $300 million.
The AU, which has already donated $500m from its own budget, had hoped to raise at least $60 million from African countries in addition to pledges from non-member countries.
Some $1.4 billion of the $2.4 billion that the UN estimates is needed to help hunger victims in the horn of Africa region has now been pledged.
An estimated 12.5 million people need urgent food aid mainly in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya.
No new pledges.