News from Africa

Red Cross Red Crescent Calls For More Investment In, And Greater Contribution To, Africa Development

Human Rights

Té / 22 October 2012

The Red Cross Red Crescent today called on African National Societies to begin relying less on traditional forms of funding, and instead take ownership of their own destinies.

This is one of the key resolutions coming from the 8th Pan African Conference, which wrapped up today. The theme ‘Investing in Africa’ encourages the 54 National Societies operating in Africa to create sound business models which will, in turn, attract local investment and give them a louder voice in determining how that investment can best be utilized.

“We are not saying that international funding and donations are not needed in Africa. The humanitarian needs for Africa remain serious and numerous,” said Alasan Senghore, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies Director, Africa Zone. “But what needs to change is the mindset and philosophy of how we do business in Africa. It is about how we as Africans can actively contribute to the world economy. How we can effectively participate and become equal partners, ultimately becoming more accountable to the people with whom we work.”

Another key recommendation from the ‘Investing in Africa: Addis Ababa Plan of Action’ encourages National Societies to constantly upgrade the capacities and skills of a diverse volunteer base. There are 1.4 million active Red Cross Red Crescent volunteers in sub-Saharan Africa, contributing 117 million US dollars worth of services, benefitting millions of people. The majority of those volunteers are youth, between the ages of 18–30. They are the drivers for change and catalysts for peace. Developing this key resource is a priority for the Red Cross Red Crescent in this era of ever-changing technology and interconnectedness.

“Youth empowerment is not a far-fetched idea,” said Frehiwot Worku, Secretary General of the Ethiopian Red Cross Society. “Their energy, passion and willingness to take risks are the very qualities that make them a force for change and entrepreneurship. These qualities can be put to good use, especially in the areas of peace-building in integration, conflict resolution and community volunteer services.”

The ‘Investing in Africa: Addis Ababa Plan of Action’ will guide Red Cross Red Crescent societies in Africa over the next four years. It also encourages National Societies to position themselves as active participants in government strategies, planning and national and regional platforms; to mainstream gender empowerment, violence prevention and the promotion of a culture of peace in all areas of operation; to invest in regional partnerships that facilitate cross-border collaboration; and to identify creative strategies that address food insecurity and climate change.

The Pan African Conference is held every four years. It is an opportunity to bring together Red Cross and Red Crescent leaders from across the continent to discuss the humanitarian and development challenges facing Africa.

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, October 22, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)

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