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Ireland increases overseas aid budget to €1.2 billion with €30m for famine hit Horn of Africa

There will be €1.2 billion for international development – an increase of 17% on 2022 figures.

An Ethiopian refugee camp in South Sudan.
An Ethiopian refugee camp in South Sudan.
Image: Alamy Stock Photo

AN INCREASE IN funding for international development has been announced in the budget. 

Colm Brophy, Minister for Overseas Development Aid and Diaspora, said that the allocation of more than €1.2 billion for international development – an increase of 17% on 2022 figures.

“There will be immediate funding of €30 million which will be made available this year for the Horn of Africa, a place I visited earlier this month, where I witnessed the devastation being wrought on the lives of people by the combined impact of climate change and conflict.

“It was clear to me that the international community needs to step up its development, humanitarian and climate programmes to address the imminent threat of famine and the massive loss of livelihoods in communities across the region.

“I was determined to ensure that the Irish Government did the right thing and Budget 2023 is a sign of Ireland’s commitment to do just that,” Brophy said. 

€75 million will be used to address humanitarian and other needs in Ukraine and in other neighbouring countries following Russia’s invasion.

Irish Aid will also provide an additional €25 million to support Ireland’s international climate finance.

Brophy said his recent visit to Turkana and South Sudan had made it clear to him the need for an increase. 

“We as Irish people can be proud of the positive and significant impact of our international development programme. Budget 2023 is an unprecedented commitment to further strengthening that impact and I know how profound that will be,” he added.

Karol Balfe, CEO of ActionAid Ireland welcomed the increase of the overseas aid budget of €177 million, bringing the budget to €1.2 billion in Budget 2023.

“This increase comes in the context of the cost of living and energy crisis and affirms Ireland’s commitment to addressing poverty and gender equality globally. Ireland’s aid commitment matters hugely, it is our statement of solidarity and our commitment as a country to realise human rights globally, particularly women’s rights.

“This allows Irish Aid to continue its vital focus on addressing hunger, conflict, humanitarian need, as well as funding long term development projects.

“It also comes in the context of the climate emergency that is wiping out communities from Bangladesh to Pakistan to the Horn of Africa and leaves Global South countries drowning in debt.

“The commitment in the Budget to the Horn of Africa of €30million is particularly welcome. The east and horn of Africa countries represents the epitome of this growing climate and humanitarian crisis,” she said. 

Caoimhe de Barra of Trócaire also welcomed the €177 million increase in Overseas Development Assistance.

She added the €30 million in humanitarian aid announced for the Horn of Africa is welcome given.

She said it was a critical allocation as 22 million people in the region are currently facing starvation due to ongoing drought, with this figure projected to rise to 26 million by the end of 2022. 

“We welcome the increase which brings the total in overseas development assistance to €1.22 billion. Investment in global humanitarian and development needs is vital.

Countries in the Global South face escalating humanitarian crises due to climate change, the economic impact of Covid – 19, conflict, gender inequality, unsustainable and inequitable global food systems, and the failure of international community to live up to their commitments on overseas aid,” she said. 

News of the increase comes after criticism of the aid funding by aid agencies and Tommy Tiernan last week

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