On Tuesday, in a joint press conference with Ethiopian Foreign Minister Gedu Andargachew, Pompeo announced the United States government will provide $8 million (Sh800 million) in funding towards control of the locust infestation in three Eastern Africa countries.
“The United States is providing $8M in additional funding to support regional locust control operations in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia,” said Pompeo.
The funds will go to Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia. Pompeo is in Ethiopia after making stops in Senegal and Angola in a trip widely believed to be an attempt to counter Chinese influence on the continent.
While in Angola, where the U.S Secretary of State met with President Joao Lourenco, denounced corruption and touted American business.
“Here in Angola, damage from corruption is pretty clear,” he told a group of businessmen following that meeting. “This reform agenda that the president put in place has to stick.”
Pompeo sentiments comes on the backdrop of Isabel dos Santos, reputedly the richest woman in Africa, is under fire and accused of dabbling in corruption and fraud.
Back to Kenya, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya has dismissed the threat of locusts saying the ravenous and cannibalistic insects.
“We’ve conducted an aerial surveillance and ascertained that the yellow locusts you see around are very old and are actually nearing the end of their lifespan,” he said.
“These old locusts pose no threat. I want you to understand the science of locusts. They’re about to hatch their eggs and so they’re just going to fly to where they’ll hatch,” the Cabinet Secretary who spoke in Karambari village, Mbeere North, in Embu indicated.
The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has also warned countries within East Africa to fasten their belts and brace for food shortage as a result of the invasion.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the locust invasion in the horn of Africa is one of the worst in 25 years.
It is worth noting that even before the locust invasion, some 11 million people in Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya were already experiencing food insecurity, and the swarms will worsen the situation.