By Katherine Mueller, IFRC
Within minutes of signing a cooperation and partnership agreement, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) were discussing ways of making the agreement come to life.
In Tunis for the signing, IFRC Secretary General Bekele Geleta agreed with AfDB President Donald Kaberuka to establish a joint implementation task force to concretize a plan of action and key deliverables. The first scheduled task-force meeting (at a technical level) will take place in Nairobi next week.
The agreement clearly outlines areas of cooperation between the two institutions, including health care and HIV, disaster risk reduction (DRR) and resilience building, food security, climate change, youth empowerment and capacity building.
“The Bank’s mission is to enhance development and growth in Africa, but we can only achieve this objective with healthier, stronger and resilient communities. That is why we are excited about this partnership, to ensure we contribute to the alleviation of poverty and the eradication of hunger in Africa. This will spur growth. The Red Cross Red Crescent is a credible and important partner in helping us achieve this goal,” said Donald Kaberuka, AfDB President.
The bank, with its financial capital, has already approved 1.2 billion US dollars for famine and drought resilience and development programming in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa. It also provided 1 million US dollars to support an IFRC emergency appeal during flash flooding in Comoros in 2012. It is keen to further that partnership with the Red Cross Red Crescent in Africa through direct funding in areas of resilience and DRR, especially in fragile states, such as Central African Republic, Chad, Mali, Somali, Sudan and South Sudan. Kaberuka and Geleta agreed these countries would likely be the immediate focus of the implementation task force.
“The Red Cross Red Crescent exists in every country in Africa, created through legislation by governments. As auxiliaries to government, we work very closely with them, but we want our National Societies to be much stronger,” said Bekele Geleta. “The African Development Bank, with its 53 member states across the continent, can help influence governments to financially support their National Societies.”
Following the signing event, Geleta paid a courtesy call to the Minister of Social Affairs, together with the Secretary General of the Tunisian Red Crescent Society. Key outcomes of the meeting included an agreement from the Government of Tunisia to expedite the finalization of a status agreement for IFRC in the country, and to ensure a direct financial contribution to the National Society.