This week in development…
- The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation announced on Wednesday that it would donate $50 million to fight Ebola. The money will go to organizations already involved in the emergency response, including certain U.N. agencies, other international organizations, and various West African governments.
- The pentagon announced it would construct a 25 bed field hospital in Liberia. The U.S. Agency for International Development requested the hospital, and will require a $22 million commitment. There are currently no plans for American personnel to staff the hospital after it is established; Army Colonel Steve Warren said that upon completion of the hospital the Department of Defense will “turn it over to the government of Liberia and then the DoD personnel will depart.”
- China began airlifting some 700 peacekeepers to South Sudan this week to protect Chinese oil fields and workers there. It is the first time Beijing has sent a battalion sized force to support a U.N. peacekeeping mission. In light of the growing food crisis located in the South Sudan, the Red Cross has called on donors for an additional $19 million dollars to be used in the country.
- The Malawi government released its budget for next year. It is the first budget to come out of newly elected President Peter Mutharika’s administration as he tries to regain the confidence of donor countries concerned with elite level corruption in the Malawi Government. Due to lack of donor budget support, Malawi’s proposed “zero-aid” budget will run a deficit this year. The administration has not said how it will cover the deficit gap, and so far has not raised taxes. The deficit could lead to commodity shortages as well as interruptions to the power supply.
- Global humanitarian assistance rose to a record high of $22 billion in 2013 according to a new report. This amount was still insufficient to cover the full extent of humanitarian needs worldwide, with an estimated 1/3 of needs going unmet. The report, which came from the Global Humanitarian Assistance Program at Development Initiatives, notes that the increase in humanitarian assistance was in part a result of a rise in the number of humanitarian crises around the world last year, including the war in Syria and Typhoon Haiyan’s destruction in the Philippines.
- Secretary of State John Kerry announced on Friday that the U.S. is pledging $500 million in humanitarian aid to support individuals and countries affected by the war in Syria. The aid comes in response to worries that the 3 million Syrian refugees now living in neighboring countries could overwhelm their hosts and further destabilize the region.