02/19/07 -- WFP - WFP has thanked the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for a US$1 million donation to its operations in Guinea, where humanitarian needs have been accentuated as a result of the current unrestthat comes at a time when many people are struggling with loss of income and growing poverty rates.
“WFP is extremely grateful for this donation from Saudi Arabia, which has once again shown that it is as anxious as we are to make sure that food reaches the most needy,” said Philippe Guyon LeBouffy, WFP’s Country Director in Guinea.
Refugees from conflicts in neighbouring Cote d’Ivoire and Liberia have placed added pressure on an already fragile economy in which living standards have severely deteriorated and some 27 percent of the population now struggle with extreme poverty.
“Guinea is a country rich in natural resources but is today experiencing dire economic adversity. The Saudi donation is extremely timely and will help to get the country back on its feet,” added LeBouffy.
In Guinea, WFP provides rations to some 20,000 refugees from Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire and has helped many thousands more to return to Liberia since peace returned to that country.
About 200,000 primary school students also benefit from school meals provided by WFP. The agency also works to improve mother and child nutrition, and encourages rural development through food-for-work projects.
An increasingly significant donor to WFP operations, the Government of Saudi Arabia has contributed nearly US$31 million last year alone, a tenfold increase compared to 2005.
Saudi individuals and associations have donated nearly US$10 million over the past two years.
In the Middle East, Saudi Arabia is by far the biggest donor to WFP's global activities and the Kingdom has become the 16th largest donor overall to the UN food aid agency in 2006.
WFP operations in Lebanon, Cambodia, the occupied Palestinian territory, and Pakistan, as well as East and West Africa are among the recent beneficiaries of generous Saudi support.
For example, in 2006, Saudi Arabia donated US$10 million to the West African Sahel area to communities suffering from the tragic impact of drought, poverty and conflict.
The funds went to WFP operations in eight countries: Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Sierra Leone and Liberia.