International Partners Visit Drought-Hit Horn of Africa, Pledge Support

International partners have made financial pledges in support of humanitarian response efforts in the drought-hit Horn of Africa after a visit to Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya.

A delegation led by the African Union and the United Nations concluded a five-day visit to the Horn of Africa in Nairobi, Kenya on Tuesday, after visiting drought-affected communities in Ethiopia and Somalia. It included representatives from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, the African Development Bank, the USAID Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance and the World Bank.

Participants met with Government representatives, local authorities and humanitarian partners in Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya. They travelled to Ethiopia’s Somali region and to Dollow in southern Somalia where they engaged with affected communities and aid workers.

“During our visit to Ethiopia and Somalia we witnessed first-hand the dire situation facing millions of people in this part of the world. The affected communities we spoke to expressed a deep desire to build their own resilience and not to rely on aid efforts indefinitely. International support is critical to restoring livelihoods and enabling families to cope in these difficult circumstances,” said Ahmed al-Meraiki, the Humanitarian Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General.

The delegation travelled to Koracale camp in Ethiopia’s Somali region which hosts 200,000 displaced people in dire need of food and safe water to survive. In Somalia, they met with displaced families and toured a cholera treatment centre in Kabasa, a settlement housing 200,000 displaced persons in Gedo region. More than 48,600 cases of cholera/Acute Watery Diarrhoea, including 763 deaths, have been reported in Somalia this year.

At a press conference in Nairobi on Tuesday, the African Union announced an immediate contribution of US$100,000 as a solidarity gesture to Somalia. This comes after the African Development Bank’s recent announcement of a US$1.1 billion package to combat drought and famine in six countries, including Ethiopia and Somalia.

The World Bank will contribute US$50 million to scale up livelihoods and resilience efforts in Somalia, and plans to support the UN in developing a framework for economic recovery. The Bank has mobilized more than US$184 million through its Multi-Partner Fund for Somalia and has a US$9 billion portfolio of development assistance and investments in Ethiopia.

In a show of solidarity and in the spirit of Ramadan, Qatar announced US$10 million in humanitarian assistance for Somalia and US$3 million for Ethiopia. The assistance will address critical needs identified by the humanitarian community and be provided through Qatari NGOs working with the United Nations.

Earlier this year at the London Somalia Conference, Saudi Arabia pledged US$10 million for Somalia. The King Salman Humanitarian Relief Centre has also announced plans to contribute to aid efforts in Ethiopia.

USAID highlighted its US$215 million commitment for Ethiopia in 2017 as well as its continued support of United Nations coordination and relief work in Somalia.

“African and international solidarity are key to effectively tackling the humanitarian impacts of drought in the Horn of Africa. The African Union will work hand in hand with the African Development Bank, the United Nations and the international community to end this crisis of hunger,” said Cessouma Minata Samate, African Union Commissioner for Political Affairs.

More than 13.4 million people are severely food insecure in Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya.

Distributed by APO on behalf of Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

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Source:: International Partners Visit Drought-Hit Horn of Africa, Pledge Support

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ICD and Tadhamon International Islamic Bank (TIIB) partner to support Business Resilience of MSMEs in Yemen under BRAVE Project

The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (“ICD”) (, the private sector arm of IDB Group, Tadhamon International Islamic Bank (TIIB) ( have entered into partnership to support Business Resilience of MSMEs under the pilot phase of BRAVE Project currently implemented jointly with the Small and Micro Enterprises Promotion Services (SMEPS) – a subsidiary of the Social Fund for Development in Yemen. The CEO of ICD, Mr. Khaled Al-Aboodi, and Mr. Mahmoud Al-Refai, General Manager TIIB, signed on behalf of their institutions in ICD Head Office.

The objective of the Business Resilience Assistance for Value-adding Enterprises (BRAVE) project aims to enhance the resilience of the private sector, as the engine of sustainable growth, against the impact of ongoing conflict. The pilot phase will support around 300 firms in five key sectors (agribusiness, food processing, fisheries, garmenting and health care) through an integrated package of tailored training program and financial support in partership with four local banks: Tadhamon International Islamic Bank (TIIB), SIB, KIMB, and National Bank of Yemen (NBY).

Mr. Khaled Al-Aboodi stated that “During the IDB Group annual meeting, ICD and SMEPS signed with two implementation partners from the Yemeni Bank. Today we are pleased to expand such partnership to include TIIB as the largest private Bank in Yemen. We are confident that TIIB involvement is a remarkable addition to the collective efforts aimed at overcoming the challenges faced by private firms in Yemen.”

Mr. Mahmoud Al-Refai said, “We are honored to announce our participation in BRAVE project in cooperation with the Islamic Bank for Development and the ICD and Social Fund for Development. TIIB is prepared to offer all necessary facilities and services to make this project a success. This cooperation, comes to enhance the resilience of small and micro financed projects that have struggled over the current crisis. BRAVE project contributes into key sectors which are: health, agriculture, fisheries, food, and textiles. We pray to Almighty Allah for the success of this project.”

Distributed by APO on behalf of Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD).

Media Inquiries:
Mr. Nabil El Alami
Fax: +966 12 6444427
Tel: +966 12 6468192

About the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector:
ICD is a multilateral organization and a member of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group. The mandate of ICD is to support economic development and promote the development of the private sector in its member countries through providing financing facilities and/or investments which are in accordance with the principles of Shari’ah. ICD also provides advice to governments and private organizations to encourage the establishment, expansion and modernization of private enterprises. ICD is rated AA/F1+ by Fitch and Aa3/P1 by Moody’s. For more information visit

About Tadhamon International Islamic Bank:
Tadhamon International Islamic Bank – TIIB is considered one of the largest and most trusted banks in Yemen. It was founded in 1996 based on the Islamic Banks Law in the Republic of Yemen.
TIIB has experience that spans over 20 years and has more than 700 employees. The bank has continuously worked on developing its services through its specialized and highly qualified staff and at the same time, maintained the essence of the Islamic values on which it was founded.
TIIB is located in Sana’a the capital of the Republic of Yemen, having total of 22 branches spread over most Yemeni governorates and the largest customer base

Source:: ICD and Tadhamon International Islamic Bank (TIIB) partner to support Business Resilience of MSMEs in Yemen under BRAVE Project

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West Africa Griot videos


A griot is often known as a ‘praise-singer’ in West Africa but they are far more than that. As Wikipedia states:

griot or jeli (djeli or djéli in French spelling) is a West African historian, storyteller, praise singer, poet and/or musician. The griot is a repository of oral tradition. As such, they are sometimes also called bards. According to Paul Oliver in his book Savannah Syncopators, “Though [the griot] has to know many traditional songs without error, he must also have the ability to extemporize on current events, chance incidents and the passing scene. His wit can be devastating and his knowledge of local history formidable”. Although they are popularly known as “praise singers”, griots may also use their vocal expertise for gossip, satire, or political comment.

Griots today live in many parts of West Africa, and are present among the Mande peoples (Mandinka, Malinké, Bambara, etc.), Fulɓe (Fula), Hausa,Songhai, Tukulóor, Wolof, Serer, Mossi, Dagomba, Mauritanian Arabs and many other smaller groups. The word may derive from the Frenchtransliteration “guiriot” of the Portuguese word “criado”, or masculine singular term for “servant”. These story-tellers are more predominant in the northern portions of West Africa.

In African languages, griots are referred to by a number of names: jeli in northern Mande areas, jali in southern Mande areas, guewel in Wolof, gawloin Pulaar (Fula). Griots form an endogamous caste, meaning that most of them only marry fellow griots and that those who are not griots do not normally perform the same functions that they perform.

When I lived in Gambia and Malli I met many griots and griottes. I love exploring Youtube and discovering videos of griots.

A griot in Mali

africanskydotorg has a number of really good videos on YouTube. I like this video of a rural griot in Mali because it reminds me of griots I have heard and met. This is no suburban sophisticate, but he is fully into his craft. The instrument is a kind of guitar or lute called an n’goni.

The one below is produced by Scott M. Lacy. All rights reserved, 2007.

Source: YouTube

Griot in The Gambia

This video is in a compound in a town I visited many times. Here you’ll see the Kora and Djembe drums.

Peace-making Griottes in Mali

The griot, or griotte in the case of women like Fady Aldiouma Maiga, plays an important role in society across much of West Africa. They wear many hats: praise-singer, poet, musician, historian, storyteller, peace-maker, political advisor. When the Islamists controlled towns like Timbuktu, they prohibited griots from practicing. Now that the “long-beards” have gone, griots able to liven up parties once more, and deliver messages of peace, much-needed in the wake of recent hostility between Timbuktu’s diverse communities: “For without peace, there is no life, no happiness, the country cannot move forward, there can be no development.”
An IRIN Film.

A book you might be interested in

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Change of Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Algeria

Mr Barry Lowen has been appointed Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria in succession to Mr Andrew Noble who will be transferring to another Diplomatic Service appointment. Mr Lowen will take up his appointment in November 2017.

Distributed by APO on behalf of United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

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Source:: Change of Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Algeria

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