The Executive Secretary of Intergovernmental Authority on Development His Excellency Eng. Mahboub M. Maalim and Chargé d'affaires of the Embassy of the Republic of Finland Counsellor Mr. Simo-Pekka Parviainen signed today in Addis Ababa, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia a wide ranging multi-year cooperation and support agreement, which steps up Finnish support to the IGAD organization and strengthens regional integration in Horn of Africa/IGAD region. Apart from the African Union, regional integration process is practically advanced by the African Regional Economic Communities, which are the relevant building blocks of the African Union.
The IGAD region (covering the countries of Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda) is yet again witnessing a widespread food crisis in the dryland pastoral areas of Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya. Famine is reported to be ongoing in two regions in Southern Somalia: in Bakool and Lower Shabelle as a result of severe and persistent drought. An estimated 11 million people in the region are in need of assistance including 3.7 million in Somalia (2/3 of the population) and 3.2 in Kenya.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration Mr. Reuben E. Brigety has paid working visit to the IGAD Secretariat.
Mr. Apuuli Bwango, the officer in charge of the Secretariat received Mr. Brigety. The officials discussed extensively on the situation of the migration and refugees in the IGAD and ways to its alleviate growing challenges.
The officials stressed the need for coordinated bilateral and multilateral efforts between IGAD and the United States of America regarding the status of the refugees and migrants of the region.
"Somalis are the only people who can solve Somalia's problems," said the Executive Secretary of IGAD, Eng. Mahboub Maalim, at a meeting organized by the Somali community in Boston, USA.
The Executive Secretary, who is on mission to the USA, encouraged the Somali diaspora to return and invest in their country. "Your country is in dire need of your contribution to reverse the depletion of intellectual and technical personnel as well as investment," he said