Al Maktoum Foundation has begun distributing 4,446 sacks of wheat in a humanitarian effort to aid those affected by war in Sudan and refugees in central Africa, and as part of the foundation’s budget of over $16m allotted for charity projects abroad.

Mohammed Obaid bin Ghannam, secretary-general for the foundation, told Khaleej Times: “The abundant harvest of 130,000 acres planted with wheat in Atbara was delivered to the Islamic Dawah Organisation in Khartoum to distribute to the needy.”

The charity foundation has already planted 130,000 acres of fertile agricultural lands in Atbara area to the north of Sudan with wheat this year, carrying out the work in collaboration with Emirates Rawabi, a prominent UAE producer of fresh produce.

Dr Mohammed Othman, assistant secretary-general of the Islamic Dawah Organisation, added: “The beneficiaries include the people hit by war in Darfur, South Kordofan, as well as the South Sudan refugees of the White Nile State, and central African evacuees.”

Al Maktoum Foundation has reached out to over 60 countries with its humanitarian initiatives since its inception in 1997, and Bin Ghannam further highlighted:

“Al Maktoum Foundation has so far built 40 secondary schools, colleges and universities in Africa, particularly in Somalia, where over 1,500 students are studying or have already graduated from the colleges of medicine, pharmacy, nursing, engineering, economy, administration and other specialties.”

The foundation has donated $1m specifically towards the eradication of illiteracy in Somali in a deal recently sealed with the UNESCO in Paris, he added.

Gulf Cooperation

In other humanitarian efforts by GCC, Kuwait has also pledged to donate a $5m to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and World Health Organization (WHO) to combat the spread of Ebola virus in West Africa.

Jamal Al Ghunaim, Kuwaiti Ambassador to the UN, stated that this donation was ordered by the Emir of Kuwait, His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, both as aid and in order for Kuwait to set an example, as the host country of the Africa Arab Summit.

This donation comes in critical time of fighting this disease after the WHO issued a call for the monitoring of larger geographical areas that have been hit by the virus, and to screen “all persons at international crossings for illness consistent with potential Ebola infection.”