Botswana and most countries in the SADC bloc are set to benefit from a half a billion dollar African Development Bank (AfDB) relief package to 14 Southern and Eastern African countries most affected by the drought.
In a statement, the AfDB said the package will help more than 30 million people in need of food assistance following the raging drought that has affected large swathes of Southern Africa.
“The AfDB will put in place a mechanism that would ensure faster disbursements of funds in on-going projects, which were designed to build the affected countries’ resilience to drought,” the bank said in a statement.
The bank admitted that most countries have been affected by the drought which has resulted in livestock dying and poor crop production. Reports from various agencies indicate that Botswana needs $123m for drought relief as most countries in the region suffer the worst drought in memory.
SADC member states have pledged to co-operate to implement measures to mitigate the effects of El-Nino to reduce food shortages and malnutrition.
The countries made the pledge following a multi-sectoral stakeholder consultative meeting that was held in South Africa recently to develop a regional preparedness and response strategy to address the impact of El-Nino on agriculture, food and nutrition security in the region.
In January the director of Meteorological Services, Thabang Botshoma, said Botswana will continue to experience consistently dry and hot conditions towards the end of summer. He said the Department of Meteorological Services predicts that the El Nino conditions will continue to have a major impact on the weather and climate patterns over Botswana, affecting rainfall. Government has since declared Botswana drought-stricken.