South African Position on Drought, Famine, and War in the Horn of Africa: The current state of affairs in the countries that make up the Horn of Africa has led other African countries, including South Africa, to question their roles in granting the countries assistance. Not only drought and thus famine, but also the actions of the Somalian-based extremist Islamic group, the Al-Shabaab, disease (e.g. measles) and famine, and the issue of refugees, have troubled these African nations. Even African nations that are not directly experiencing the same problems but desire to help the countries neither know how to intervene nor in which country to intervene first. A possible solution of South Africa, therefore, is to provide aid for countries in the Horn of Africa and specifically for Somalia to in turn help the Al-Shabaab crisis.
As South Africa’s efforts suggest, the country aims to regenerate the culture of African nations and resolve conflicts in the continent peacefully. The New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) is one such effort of South Africa to restore and maintain political and cultural stability in Africa. In another effort to maintain political stability, South Africa has actively supported refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, Burundi, and other African nations since 2007. South Africa’s relationship with Somalia, specifically, indicates its concern for the political wellbeing of the countries in the Horn of Africa. During an AU pledging conference in August of 2011, for instance, South Africa vowed to continue to work with the AU, the UN, and the Africa Group to address the needs of the countries in the Horn of Africa. At the pledging conference, the country raised R8 million (rands) for the famine relief program, and R4 million of this donation went towards the transportation and other costs to deliver aid to Somalia. In a similar example of South Africa’s aid for Somalia, on February 23, 2012, the country’s International Relations and Cooperation Minister, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, participated in the International London Conference on Somalia in the United Kingdom. This conference supposedly discussed, among other topics, funding for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), international support for the Somali regions, efforts to fight piracy, commitment to addressing humanitarian aid in the country, and how to handle Somalia’s issues, most likely the presence of the Al-Shabaab, the first famine in three decades as classified by the UN, and the exodus of Somalian refugees.
Because South Africa works to provide aid for countries in the Horn of Africa, it believes that providing the countries with foreign aid and increasing security to diminish the danger of the Al-Shabaab’s occupation of Somalia as the logical actions to help solve the crises of war and famine. South Africa will focus first on the conflict in Somalia, which requires immediate attention due to the delicate situation of the Al-Shabaab’s occupation there. South Africa feels that targeting the issues of Somalia first will result in greater attention on each preceding crisis in the other countries requiring assistance. Thus, South Africa can provide foreign aid to Somalia to attempt . Additionally, foreign aid should be divided appropriately, with a large portion of aid allocated to providing countries with medicine and helping Somalia deal with the Al-Shabaab’s presence.
Maggie Beck, South African Delegate (Security Council)