Addis Ababa, 13 October 2021 – Today, the Government of Sweden, represented by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have signed a SEK 5,000,000 agreement to promote socio-economic development and peacebuilding in Africa’s borderland regions in the Liptako-Gourma in West Africa, and the Karamoja Cluster in East Africa. The programme will be implemented in collaboration with the African Union Commission (AUC) and the Life and Peace Institute (LPI).
The signing ceremony was held at the Embassy of Sweden in Addis Ababa with representation by Ulla Andrén, Head of Regional Development Cooperation for Sweden and Stan Nkwain, Director a.i. of the UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa.
With an estimated 270 million inhabitants, borderlands in Africa are a unique source of ingenuity, untapped opportunity and great resilience. In many of these communities however, insecurity and poverty, made worse by climate change emergencies, conflict and, more recently, the COVID-19 pandemic, remain a critical impediment to socio-economic progress. This agreement confirms the firm conviction of Sweden, UNDP and their implementing partners that improved circumstances could help unlock the development potential and local innovation capabilities of Africa’s borderland communities and strengthen their progress towards achieving the SDGs and Africa’s Agenda 2063.
Ulla Andrén, Head of Regional Development Cooperation at the Embassy of Sweden in Addis Ababa signed the agreement on behalf of Sweden and stated, “We are glad to be able to support innovative projects like this. Many borderland regions experience challenging security issues, and we need to support initiatives that promote all the positive aspects of the dynamic borderland areas in the joint strive for a peaceful and secure Africa. We are particularly looking forward to following how this partnership will enhance the involvement of women and youth.”
Stan Nkwain, Director a.i. of the UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa, signed the agreement on behalf of UNDP and stated, “I would like to thank the Government and the people of Sweden for their partnership and commitment in supporting historically marginalized communities in Africa’s borderlands, through UNDP’s Africa Borderlands Centre. I hope that this initiative can be a catalyst to bring more attention and resources to Africa’s borderlands.”
The one-year partnership, which will be implemented by UNDP’s Regional Programme for Africa, will embrace the opportunities in Africa’s borderlands with a particular focus on engaging and empowering women and youth.
There are three areas of focus for the partnership, namely:
- improving livelihoods for borderland communities in the Liptako-Gourma region through promoting innovation on informal cross-border trade and access to markets in Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso;
- strengthening the engagement and capacity of borderland civil society organizations in East Africa and the Horn of Africa; and
- promoting sustainable peace and development in the Karamoja region of Uganda and Kenya, while supporting the Governments of Kenya and Uganda in the development a cross-border programme.
For more information and interview requests, please contact:
Kareen Shawa, Communications Specialist, UNDP Africa Borderlands Centre
Michelle Mendi Muita, Communications Specialist, UNDP Regional Programme
Emma Sandahl, Counsellor and Program Manager/Specialist Human Security and AU Swedish Embassy in Addis Ababa