MEDIA STATEMENT

21 MARCH 2012

South Africa intervenes in the Sahel Region

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane announces South Africa’s humanitarian assistance to four core countries of the Sahel region during the Ministerial Meeting of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union

International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane successfully concluded her participation in the Ministerial Meeting of the African Union’s Peace and Security Council, which took place in Bamako, Mali, on Tuesday, 20 March 2012.

The Peace and Security Council (PSC) considered the situation in the Sahel region and in particular, the situation in the northern part of Mali.

The Council expressed deep concern over the humanitarian crisis currently facing a number of countries in the Sahel region as a result of environmental degradation, climate change and food insecurity.

Furthermore, the Council noted that these challenges have been aggravated by the developments in the Maghreb region, especially by the crisis in Libya, the influx of internally displaced persons, as well as the increase in transnational organized crime, terrorism activities and the proliferation of weapons.

The Council called for a more comprehensive and better-coordinated approach in addressing the situation in the Sahel region in order to assist the concerned countries in implementing national and regional strategies to mitigate the impact of the humanitarian crisis.

During the PSC’s consideration of the situation in the Sahel, Minister Nkoana-Mashabane announced that the four core Sahelian States – Mali, Niger, Mauritania and Chad, approached the South African Government for assistance at a bilateral level and stipulated the areas where they require assistance and immediate humanitarian relief.

South Africa has taken heed of the call made by the four core Sahelian countries because of the humanitarian crisis currently confronting this region. As a short term measure, emergency food and nutritional aid will be directly delivered to these sister countries as a matter of urgency. South Africa is also working out a framework of implementation of further assistance in the medium term.

NIGER

Following a request made by Niger’s President Issoufou to President Zuma during his official visit in November 2011, South Africa has decided to render humanitarian assistance to the Government of the Republic of Niger to help it meet the obligations set out in the Preliminary Support Plan aimed at preventing the spread of food and nutritional insecurity.
The humanitarian assistance that South Africa will provide to assist Niger combat and overcome the current drought, food and nutritional insecurity, will be made up of the following items:

• Fertilizer: 877 tons
• Biopesticides: 5000 litres
• Protection kits for workers applying pesticides: 12 000 units
• Animal feed for cattle and goats: 11 000 tons
• Vaccine PPR for livestock: 9 000 000 doses
• Food grains, millet and sorghum: 103 500 tons
• Nutritional provision for children and pregnant women: to cater for approximately  22 000 persons

The overall objective of this assistance to the Republic of Niger is primarily to assist this sister country threatened by food and physical security and is also a clear sign of South Africa’s intention to forge greater cooperation with Niger.

MALI

The Government of Mali has shared with the South African Government its Action Plan to combat the food and nutrition crisis. During bilateral discussions between the two countries, Mali requested South Africa to assist in combating a looming humanitarian crisis that has been exacerbated by the unexpected return of economic migrants and the internal displacement of thousands of its citizens largely due to conflict in the northern parts of the country, which is creating a refugee crisis.

Mali requires humanitarian assistance to alleviate the looming crisis and South Africa plans to respond positively to the request for aid. The areas in which Mali has pointed out as those needing urgent assistance, are as follows:

• Purchase of cereal and grains for distribution to worst affected areas: 45 886 tons of millet and sorghum
• Provision of dry seeds and potato seeds before the upcoming planting season
• Animal feed: 14 500 tons, veterinary products and licking stone for livestock
• Nutritional care for babies aged 6 to 59 months, as well as children suffering from acute malnutrition
• Acquisition of 35 000 tons of rice as part of the National Food Security Stock.

CHAD AND MAURITANIA

The South African Government is currently in consultation with Chad and Mauritania to assess their emergency humanitarian requirements.

Enquiries: Mr. Clayson Monyela, spokesperson for DIRCO, 082 884 5974

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

OR Tambo Building,
460 Soutpansberg Road
Pretoria

 

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