30 April 2014
Qatar confirmed on Monday that it will put $88m towards the economic development of the strife-torn Darfur region in western Sudan.
The money will provide funding for 19 UN-sponsored projects across the region. These projects, which are to be completed within a year, are intended to form the beginning of a six-year programme of works to build schools, clinics and water pumps.
The commitment, which was signed in the Darfur town of El Fasher, comes a year after an international donors’ conference in Doha pledged $3.6bn in pledges – mostly from the Sudanese government-to finance the programme.
At another conference, held in Doha at the beginning of April, Qatar pledged $500m in aid to Darfur. The region has suffered a decade-long war that destroyed its basic infrastructure.
The keynote address was given by Hamad Bin Jassim Al Thani, the prime minister of Qatar.
The government of Sudan and the international community have pledged $3.6bn towards the rebuilding of Darfur. [Sudan Envoy/Wikimedia Commons]
He said: "Peace time has begun in Darfur. A peace that will be protected by development, not by force."
The region is officially at peace after a decade-long war between militia backed by the Sudanese government on one side, and the Sudan Liberation Army and the Justice and Equality movement on the other. An estimated 300,000 people were killed in the war.
The conflict, which was based on ethnic and economic hostility between nomadic Arabs and black African farmers, was officially ended in 2010, however the region continues to suffer from outbreaks of violence.
According to UN figures released this week, about 224,000 people have been displaced by fighting since late February.
On Sunday, the UK pledged $16.5mÂ a year for three years. "It is not good enough to simply offer more handouts," Lynne Featherstone, Britain’s international development minister,Â said. "Our aid will help the poorest to get the help they need to stand on their own and make them better able to cope when crises occur.