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UN says investment in cross-border projects key to curbing conflicts, terrorism in Africa

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Horn of African states should prioritise investments in livelihood projects along the borderlands to stem inter-communal skirmishes and violent extremism, a senior UN official said on Thursday.
Ahunna Eziakonwa, Director of UN Development Programme (UNDP) Regional Bureau for Africa, said this on the sidelines of a Pan African counter-terrorism summit underway in Nairobi.
Eziakonwa said that sustainable peace and security in the horn of African region hinges on roll-out of programmes that addresses food security, youth employment and access to basic services like health and education.
“The borderlands of the horn of African region can be cushioned from perennial conflicts and terrorism if governments leverage on investments that tackle poverty, hunger, water scarcity and diseases,” Eziaokonwa said.
She said that a Kenya-Ethiopia cross-border development programme funded by multilateral lenders has enhanced the resilience of nomadic communities amid conflicts and violent extremism since its launch in October 2015.
“The Kenya-Ethiopia cross border project has become a model for socio-economic transformation and sustainable peace in regions that are geographically marginalised and are prone to instability and violence,” said Eziakonwa.
She said that horn of African states should harmonise policies on sharing of natural resources and basic services across borders to boost harmonious co-existence among local communities.
Eugene Wamalwa, Kenya’s cabinet secretary in the ministry of devolution, arid and semi-arid lands, said that horn of African states have rallied behind an integrated regional development framework to tackle conflicts and radicalisation of youth.
“We are focusing on proactive measures to prevent eruption of conflicts, violent extremism and disease outbreaks along the border with Somalia, Ethiopia and South Sudan,” said Wamalwa.
The cross border development projects have become bridges of uniting communities that have perennially fought over water and pasture, he added.
Siddharth Chatterjee, UN Resident Coordinator for Kenya, said that investments in climate resilience farming alongside education and health, is key to boost security and peace in the volatile horn of Africa borderlands. (Xinhua/NAN)
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