UNHCR / Helene Caux

Malian refugee children pose with their teacher in Mangaize school, in Niger. They fled northern Mali with their families when a conflict erupted in 2012 between rebel movements and governmental forces. Classes are usually over crowded.

An African bank partners with UNHCR for livelihood and education projects

The Ecobank group will initially contribute $100,000 and is committed to further assist refugees in Africa

DAKAR / NAIROBI – The UN Refugee Agency’s operations in Africa received a financial boost in late October when Ecobank donated USD 100,000 towards developing livelihoods and education for refugees throughout Africa. The bank, through its Central, Eastern and Southern Africa regional group, handed over the cheque to UNHCR in the Kenyan capital. This strategic partnership with the Pan African bank will see continued multiyear support for UNHCR’s work across the continent. Over 430,000 refugees will benefit in the education sector with the investment going to quality primary, secondary and professional education.

“Quality education is one of the most important investments for the protection of refugees, their empowerment and their self-reliance. But refugee children and youth struggle to receive the education they need to build their future” said Wella Koyou, UNHCR Deputy Representative in Kenya. “We are therefore extremely grateful to Ecobank for its support. We believe that such partnerships are vital to delivering home-grown solutions to the refugee situation in our continent”. This is the second time that an African Bank is partnering with UNHCR. Last year, the Kenya Commercial Bank group had also contributed $ 100,000 to the refugee agency towards its operations in South Sudan.

Ecobank Group CEO, Ade Ayeyemi outlined the reasons why this partnership with UNHCR was necessary. “Every institution in the society has to heed the call to help the vulnerable,” he said. “Through our Ecobank Foundation, we have heeded this call and engaged in a couple of social investments on the continent.”

There are 28 countries in Africa where both UNHCR and Ecobank are operational. This is an opportunity for both entities to have a significant reach in support to the refugee community.  UNHCR caters for 65.3 million forcibly displaced persons in the world, 19.4 million of them in Africa.

“UNHCR is very grateful for the support from the Private Sector in Africa. The continent has nearly a third of the world’s refugees), with some situations being protracted for decades and other crises sadly, constantly erupting,” added Valentin Tapsoba, UNHCR Regional Bureau Director for Africa. “Corporates like the Ecobank Group help us to find home grown solutions to the problem of refugees in Africa. While global humanitarian resources are dwindling, such committed support, helps us to plan and implement programmes including ensuring education delivery, and creating and developing business opportunities for refugees and their gracious host communities,” he added.

The donation will also focus on advancing livelihoods and economic growth for refugee communities that help meet some of their daily needs.

For more information:
In Dakar: 
David Nthengwe, Donor Relations Officer, nthengwe@unhcr.org, tel: +221 77 740 6063
In Nairobi: Needa Jehu-Mazou, Private Sector Partnerships  in Africa, jehuho@unhcr.org, +254 702 483 984

UNHCR commemorates 2 years of the #IBelong campaign to eradicate global statelessness

Bideew Bou Bess commits to fight statelessness with a new song