Qatar has committed $88 million to the development of Sudan’s Darfur region, a year after an international donors’ conference in Doha secured $3.6bn in pledges, mostly from the Sudanese government in Khartoum, to finance a six-year development strategy.
Speaking at a conference in Al Fashir, the capital city of North Darfur, Qatar pledged an immediate contribution of $88m, half the $177m needed for critical short-term activities.
At present, the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the Nifasha camp in North Darfur, most of whom are women and children, only have access to water for two hours each day.
“It took some time … we’re glad that it’s on the right track,” Ali Al-Za’tari, the UN chief in Sudan told AFP, when asked why the funds has not come sooner. “They have already transferred $10m, even before we signed anything, to the United Nations Darfur fund.”
Qatar is funding 19 UN-sponsored projects across Darfur’s five states under the Darfur Development Strategy, which itself was a condition of the July 2011 Doha Document for Peace in Darfur signed by the Khartoum government and an alliance of rebel factions.
Unfortunately, numerous aspects of the deal have not been implemented on schedule and several rebel groups have refused to sign it. At the same time, forms of unrest, including battles between heavily armed tribes, militia violence and criminality, have worsened.
The gulf state has sponsored the peace process to end the Darfur conflict since 2009, and during negotiations in 2011, the key rebel demand were an increase in funds to help IDPs, a commission for nomads’ affairs, and funding for micro-finance projects and Darfur students.