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Africa not giving enough, group says

African countries aren’t donating enough cash to help the 12 million plus people affected by the Horn of Africa famine, an aid group said today.

Aid donations from African governments have been inadequate, with only South Africa, Namibia, Kenya and Sudan sending cash, said British aid group, Oxfam.

People in South Africa and Kenya are giving money and food to the aid efforts in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia, but on the whole, African countries haven’t responded enough said the charity’s Irungu Houghton.

More than £0.8 billion is needed for famine relief efforts, according to the United Nations. Namibia in southwestern Africa has promised £305,000, while South Africa has pledged £0.6 million, stepping up an earlier pledge.

But the South African government is not giving enough, Oxfam said. "African citizens have already rallied to the cause and made significant contributions. But now we need African governments to follow their lead," Houghton said. "Most are yet to make a decent contribution and show the true meaning of African solutions to African problems," he told Associated Press.

He said Oxfam wants African governments to raise at least £30 million.

The United Nations has already warned that a funding gap is starting to hamper the delivery of aid. About half of the 4.56 million people who have been targeted for food aid in Ethiopia, will get less rations because of a lack of cash, said the UN’s Elisabeth Byrs.

"We are ringing the alarm, we need this funding," said Byrs.

"Because of the lack of funding, and the difficulty of distributing, these rations will be incomplete," she told the Guardian, adding that £11 million is needed to plug the shortfall.

Only 48 per cent of the requested amount to help the 12.4 million people in the famine-stricken Horn of Africa has arrived. "Money needs to come," Byrs said.

China today pledged 353.2 million yuan (£34 million) in food aid, its state Xinhua news agency said. The news comes after the US government urged China, which has huge business interests in Africa, to do more to help

China's Premier Wen Jiabao made the offer in a meeting with his opposite number in Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi, in Beijing. The aid will be handed out to several African countries, Xinhua said.

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