Berlin conference pledges $2.5bn for Boko Haram war

The international donor conference on Boko Haram has pledged $2.52 billion to help countries in the Lake Chad Basin in the fight against insurgency.

The conference, currently holding in Berlin, Germany, made the pledge on Monday.

Germany’s foreign ministry said the aid will be disbursed “in the coming years” to Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon, where Boko Haram insurgents have continued to launch frequent attacks on both civilians and military.

The two-day conference, which is being attended by more than 70 states, international organisations and non-governmental organisations, raised $672 million for the same cause in 2017.

Mark Lowcock, head, UN office for the coordination of humanitarian affairs, said the donation will “help us deliver life-saving humanitarian assistance throughout the Lake Chad Basin”.

“This support is crucial to ensuring that life-saving assistance reaches all those in need,” he said.

Lowcock said a famine was averted in the region in 2017 largely due to international aid, but that millions of people in Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon were still in “dire need of help”.

The UN humanitarian chief, however, cautioned that “the crisis is not over. There are still 10 million people who need life-saving assistance.

“A quarter of the people we are trying to reach are displaced from their homes and the only means of staying alive they have is what is provided by humanitarian organisations.”

The conference focused on humanitarian assistance, civilian protection, crisis prevention and stabilisation for the region.