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Refugees Worldwide Face Rising Hunger Due to Funding Gaps Amidst Covid-19

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Child Poverty - Investors King

Significant funding shortfalls across East and Southern Africa, as well as the Middle East, have forced ration cuts upon some of the world’s most vulnerable people who rely on WFP food to survive.

In East Africa alone, almost three-quarters of refugees have had their rations cut by up to 50 percent. In Southern Africa, refugees in Tanzania who depend entirely on WFP assistance have had their rations cut by almost one-third.  Significant funding shortages for the Syria Regional Refugee Response mean 242,000 refugees in Jordan may be cut off from assistance at the end of August unless more funding is received.

“What we may be seeing is the impact of COVID-19 on donor government funding and this is negatively impacting our ability to respond and support some of the world’s most vulnerable people,” said Margot van der Velden, WFP Director of Emergencies. “The lives of the most marginalized people in the world are on the line and we are urging donors not to turn their backs on refugees when they need it most.”

To avoid any cuts in food assistance – either through reduced rations or excluding people from assistance altogether –sufficient funding is needed at least one month ahead of the expected break in the flow of food to the refugee-hosting countries.

The increasing funding gaps intersect with rising food prices and fewer opportunities for refugees to supplement their food assistance as informal economies shrink due to COVID-19 lockdowns.

Meanwhile, the number of people in desperate need is on the rise globally as conflict, disasters and economic meltdowns are driving up levels of hunger. WFP and other humanitarian agencies face brutal choices. In Rwanda, WFP has rolled out targeted food assistance prioritizing those most in need. Despite this, funding is so short that even the most vulnerable still aren’t receiving full rations, which come in the form of cash assistance.

“During COVID-19 lockdown, we couldn’t leave the camp and we couldn’t earn anything as all casual work outside the camp stopped,” said Ange, a refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) living in Rwanda. “The situation got worse when our food ration was reduced. My family started facing a serious food shortage.”

Some of the most underfunded WFP operations are also ones with significant refugee populations requiring support. For example, in Uganda WFP supports more than 1.2 million refugees which is 65 percent of the country operations. A country funding shortfall of more than 80 percent has had significant impacts on refugees who rely on WFP assistance.

As a new WFP report indicates a surge in people teetering on the brink of famine – which has risen from 34 million projected at the beginning of the year to 41 million projected as of June – it’s vital that the world steps forward to support the most vulnerable.

WFP refugee operations impacted by funding shortages:

Chad: New refugee influxes from Sudan and the Central African Republic (CAR) mean WFP may be forced to implement ration cuts and suspend/prioritize activities that will affect vulnerable groups depending on WFP’s support, particularly malnourished children.

Cameroon:  WFP may be required to reduce the food rations for the most vulnerable beneficiaries, including 70,000 Nigerian and 100,000 CAR refugees.

Democratic Republic of Congo: In 2021, WFP has supported about 148,000 camp-based refugees in DRC, including the recent influx of about 92,000 refugees from CAR. Since May 2020, WFP DRC has been applying an average of 25% ration cuts to its refugee assistance programme.

East Africa: Funding shortfalls have forced ration cuts for over 3 million refugees of up to 60%. Rations were cut by 50% in South Sudan, 40% in Uganda and Kenya, 23% in Djibouti, 16% in Ethiopia and 8% in Rwanda.

Malawi: Under its refugee response, WFP Malawi rolled out cash-based transfers and kick-started livelihood support activities to enhance self-reliance for refugees. However, funding shortfalls have led to a 25% ration cut since July 2020.

Republic of Congo: WFP provides assistance to more than 20,000 refugees from CAR. Significant shortfalls have meant that food distribution cycles have been irregular.

Syria Refugee Regional: In the five countries where WFP supports Syrian refugees, USD 408 million is required for the next six months.

  • In Jordan, at least 21,000 refugees will no longer receive WFP’s food assistance starting 1 July. If no additional funding materializes, WFP will have to cut off an additional 242,000 refugees at the end of August. Around 220,000 extremely vulnerable refugees in camps and communities will continue to receive WFP support through September.
  • In Egypt, WFP – through joint targeting with UNHCR – is looking at prioritizing assistance to 110,000 people, reducing the number of beneficiaries by 20,000.

Tanzania: The WFP refugee operation faced significant funding shortfalls leading to ration cuts of up to 32 percent of the minimum calorie requirement since December 2020. Photos available here.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Woman Kills Boyfriend Over Dispute on ‘Yahoo Yahoo’ Earnings

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In a shocking turn of events, a 27-year-old woman, Oluchi Nzemechi, has been arrested for allegedly stabbing her boyfriend, Kelechi Nzemechi, to death over a disagreement on how to share the proceeds from their internet scam business, popularly known as ‘Yahoo Yahoo’.

The incident occurred in the Ikeduru Local Government Area of Imo State.

According to a statement released by the Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Henry Okoye, the suspect has confessed to committing the crime.

Oluchi revealed during interrogation that her boyfriend had introduced her to the world of cybercrime.

Their illicit activities recently culminated in the successful duping of an Indonesian victim out of 250 million rupiah (approximately $16,500 USD).

The fatal dispute arose when Oluchi and Kelechi were discussing how to divide the substantial sum. The argument quickly escalated, and in a fit of rage, Oluchi grabbed a kitchen knife and fatally stabbed Kelechi.

Realizing the gravity of her actions, she attempted to divert suspicion from herself by leaving a misleading note on Kelechi’s body, which read, “You think you can eat my money and go free? I am baba for the boys. I am coming for your wife and your child, including your family,” before fleeing the scene.

ASP Okoye’s statement also mentioned that Oluchi and Kelechi had been living together since 2019 and had a child together.

The police are currently taking necessary steps to recover the fraudulently obtained 250 million Indonesian rupiah to return it to the rightful owner.

The suspect is now in police custody and undergoing further investigation at the State Criminal Investigation Department. She will be arraigned in court once the investigation is concluded.

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Napoli President Travels to Convince PSG on Osimhen’s €120M Clause

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Victor Osimhen

In a high-stakes move to secure the future of one of European football’s hottest talents, Napoli President Aurelio De Laurentiis has flown to France to engage in direct talks with Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) officials.

The purpose of the trip is to persuade the French club to trigger the €120 million release clause of Nigerian striker Victor Osimhen.

The 24-year-old forward has been a pivotal player for Napoli, drawing widespread attention with his impressive performances.

Last year, Osimhen expressed a desire to explore new opportunities, prompting Napoli to offer him a new contract that included a substantial release clause.

Despite his outstanding form, concerns over his recent injury have caused potential suitors to hesitate.

De Laurentiis’ trip to Paris underscores Napoli’s determination to secure a lucrative transfer for Osimhen. With PSG reportedly cooling their interest in recent months, the Napoli president aims to reignite their pursuit and finalize the deal.

“We believe Victor is worth every cent of his release clause,” a Napoli insider revealed. “De Laurentiis is committed to ensuring that any transfer reflects his true value.”

In addition to Osimhen, De Laurentiis is expected to discuss Georgian winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, who has reportedly agreed on personal terms with PSG.

The Napoli president aims to prevent the French giants from swooping in for another of their prized assets without due negotiation.

Over the past year, several top European clubs, including Chelsea and Manchester United, have been linked with Osimhen.

However, his €120 million release clause and injury issues have deterred them from making firm offers. Chelsea, in particular, has turned its attention to alternative targets such as RB Leipzig’s Benjamin Sesko.

Despite these setbacks, De Laurentiis remains hopeful. “PSG has the financial power and the ambition to sign a player of Osimhen’s caliber,” he said before his departure. “We are here to ensure they understand the opportunity that lies before them.”

This development comes as Napoli seeks to balance their books and invest in strengthening their squad for the upcoming season. A successful sale of Osimhen would provide significant financial flexibility and allow them to pursue other high-profile targets.

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EU to Raise Schengen Visa Fees, African Nationals Hit Hardest

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Nigerian International passport- Investors King

Starting Tuesday, African nationals seeking entry to the European Union will face increased visa fees as the EU raises the cost of Schengen visa applications from €80 to €90.

This 12.5% hike announced by the EU Commission adds to the financial burden for many applicants, particularly from African countries that already face high rejection rates and significant expenses.

According to recent Schengen visa statistics, African nationals received 704,000 negative responses to their visa applications in 2023.

This high rate of rejections resulted in approximately €56.3 million spent on non-refundable visa fees.

The report highlights that these expenses, referred to as ‘reverse remittances,’ represent a substantial financial outflow from African countries to the EU, benefiting no one but the recipient nations.

The impact of these costs is disproportionately felt by African applicants, who accounted for 43.1% of the total amount generated by rejected applications in 2023.

Among the hardest-hit were nationals from Algeria and Morocco. Algerians, who filed the second-highest number of applications, saw 42.3% of their 289,000 requests denied.

Moroccan nationals faced an even higher rejection rate, with 62% of their 437,000 applications being turned down, leading to €10.9 million spent on unsuccessful visa bids.

Overall, the EU earned €3.4 million from rejected Schengen visa applications submitted by Nigerian citizens alone, illustrating the significant financial burden placed on individual applicants.

The high rejection rates for African and Asian countries, which together bear 90% of all visa-related expenses, exacerbate the economic challenges faced by applicants from these regions.

The recent study by EU Observer underscores the growing trend of increased expenses and rejection rates.

Schengen visa rejections generated €130 million in 2023, up from €105 million the previous year, indicating a rise in both visa costs and the financial impact on applicants.

Marta Foresti, founder of the LAGO Collective, commented on the broader implications of these financial dynamics.

“Visa inequality has very tangible consequences and the world’s poorest pay the price. You can think of the costs of rejected visas as ‘reverse remittances’, money flowing from poor to rich countries. We never hear about these costs when discussing aid or migration; it is time to change that,” she said.

As the EU implements the new visa fee structure, the financial strain on African nationals is set to intensify. With some of the lowest wages globally, many Africans will find the increased costs even more challenging to bear.

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