The United Nations has named the Emir of Kuwait H.H. Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah a ‘humanitarian leader’ in honour of his commitment to philanthropy and Kuwait’s efforts to promote international dialogue, particularly with regard to Sub-Saharan Africa.

The UN will present the honour to the Emir on behalf of Kuwait in New York later this month, in appreciation for the country’s significant humanitarian role, of which Secretary General Ban Ki Moon noted: “Kuwait and the Emir are used to doing philanthropic work in all parts of the world.”

African diplomats have also been quick to chime in with their support for the UN decision, pointing to the numerous activities the Emir and his country, as well as the leadership displayed in the rallying of 90% of African leaders at the 3rd Arab-Africa Summit in Kuwait.

“It is an honour for the Arab and Islamic worlds that His Highness be chosen a ‘humanitarian leader’ by the UN for his great efforts in the philanthropic domain,” noted Abdulkadir Amin Sheikh, Somalia’s Ambassador to Kuwait. “It is a great honour for the world to have.”

Ambassador Sheikh said the Emir had been known for many years for his assistance to needy people around the world, especially in Somalia, and recalled a famine-relief initiative in 2012 where Kuwaiti convoys were the first to reach the country amid a dangerous security situation.

Abdou Lahad Mbacke, Senegal’s Ambassador to Kuwait, further highlighted the significant contributions made through the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) to Senegal – the largest beneficiary with a total sum of $320m in funding towards 26 projects.

At the 3rd African-Arab Summit in November 2013, His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah also announced the lending of $1bn in soft loans over five years to African countries, as well as $1m annual prize, named after the late Kuwaiti philanthropist Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Sumait, for developmental research in Africa.

Kuwait has more recently donated $5m to the World Health Organization (WHO) to combat the spread of Ebola virus in West Africa, with Ambassador Jamal Al-Ghunaim, Kuwait’s Permanent Delegate to the UN, handing the funds to WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan.

“This donation is a live example of human solidarity and positive action towards pressing crises,” Dr Chan said. “This Kuwaiti contribution is the first from an Arab country, and it was made in a time when West African countries have been struggling to bring this deteriorating situation under control.”

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