By Kestér Kenn Klomegâh
From June 11-17, 2022, the United States Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Ms Victoria Nuland, visited Nigeria, Djibouti and Mozambique to discuss affecting the African continent.
Throughout the trip, the Under Secretary highlighted the important work the United States has been doing with African and international partners to shore up global food security and health systems.
During her visit to Nigeria, the senior US official and the team discussed with the government and civil society representatives significant issues of shared concern including regional security, free and fair elections, and business innovation.
While in Djibouti, Under Secretary Nuland and an interagency team interacted with government counterparts to advance the US-Djibouti relations and close security cooperation.
In Mozambique, according to reports from the US Department of State, Deutsche Welle and Rádio Moçambique, the United States promised to assist the country with a further donation of $40 million (€38.2 million) to support the displaced and victims of natural disasters in northern Mozambique.
In addition, the United States would also offer $14 million annually over the next 10 years to help rebuild Cabo Delgado.
Ms Nuland said the financial grants were part of the “emergency response to the food needs of those displaced by war and terrorism, social protection, building resilience to climate change and nutritional support for children” and the priority was to prevent “people in a situation of food insecurity in Mozambique from falling into a situation of hunger” in the country.
She emphasised that the United States would also try to persuade other rich countries to provide more aid to victims of hunger in the world, especially in Africa, especially given the worsening of the situation due to “the blockade of cereals by Russia” in the context of its invasion of Ukraine.
“One of the great global challenges is food insecurity,” which “results from climate change, droughts, conflicts and terrorism, exacerbated by the war waged by Russia against Ukraine,” she explained.
Of the amount announced by the United States government, WFP will receive the largest share, worth $29.5 million (€28.2 million). “It is timely support from the US because it allows us to maintain humanitarian assistance to the approximately 940,000 war-displaced people from Cabo Delgado until September,” WFP Mozambique director Antonella D’Aprile said.
D’Aprile said that the resources made available would make it possible to help victims of armed violence in Cabo Delgado and host families in the provinces of Nampula and Niassa, for which the WFP needs $17.4 million a month. The United States is the largest WFP donor in Mozambique, having channelled $207 million (€197 million) since 2017.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates that almost 12,000 people have fled the new wave of attacks on Cabo Delgado that began about a week ago, this time in the south of the province, which was considered a safe zone. More than half are children and there are at least 125 pregnant women among the terrorised population, some of whom are fleeing for a second time, abandoning places where they were starting life anew.
The new wave of attacks is hitting areas around 100 kilometres from Pemba, which already served as a refuge for people forced in recent years to leave the worst affected areas to the north, with the epicentre in districts close to the gas extraction projects under construction.
Joint forces of the Southern African Development Community and the Mozambican government killed an unspecified number of terrorists and wounded others in an offensive against armed groups in Cabo Delgado on June 9.
Cabo Delgado province, in northern Mozambique, is rich in natural gas, but has been terrorized since 2017 by armed rebels, with some attacks claimed by the Islamic State extremist group. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), about 784,000 persons have been internally displaced by the conflict, which has killed about 4,000, according to the ACLED conflict registry project.
Since July 2021, an offensive by government troops, with the support of Rwandan and later Southern African Development Community (SADC) troops, has recovered a number of areas from rebel control, but their flight has led to new attacks in districts through which they have passed or taken up temporary refuge.
African leaders at the summit of the African Union held in Addis Ababa highly praised Mozambique’s approach to terrorism in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, involving troops from Rwanda and the Southern African Development Community Military Mission (SAMIM).
Mozambican Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Verónica Macamo, has expressed confidence in the election to the UN Security Council, saying that the experience in the fight against terrorism would be an “advantage” in its favour.
Mozambique, during its campaign for UNSC seat, was supported by the African Union. June witnessed the final election of five member states – Ecuador, Japan, Malta, Mozambique and Switzerland – for the five new non-permanent member seats at the United Nations (UN) Security Council for 2023-2024.