ICAI Report on the UK Emergency Response in the Horn of Africa

14 Sep 2012

The Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) has today published a report on the UK’s Humanitarian Emergency Response in the Horn of Africa, giving it a rating of Green-Amber.

Millions of people in the Horn of Africa suffer chronic food insecurity and vulnerability. When the rains failed in late 2010 and again in early 2011, the Horn of Africa faced a humanitarian crisis with over 12 million people affected. The ICAI report looks at the effectiveness and value for money of the UK’s £200 million emergency response to this crisis.

The ICAI report found that the Department for International Development (DFID) played a leading role in the humanitarian response, supporting some of the most vulnerable people in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia. DFID applied pressure to governments and other donors to act and its programmes in the field demonstrated good impact and value for money.

DFID and the humanitarian system as a whole, however, lacked flexibility in responding to the emerging crisis and as such action was delayed. Given the recurring nature of the crises, DFID could have been better prepared for this unfolding crisis and earlier action could have alleviated some of the suffering and loss of livelihoods. Substantive improvements can only be achieved by addressing weaknesses in the entire humanitarian system and engaging national governments before the next crisis occurs.


  • Overall rating: Green-Amber
  • DFID should work towards a cohesive early-warning system, with triggers for action pre-agreed with other key organisations and governments.
  • DFID should develop a new model for flexibly addressing the recurring crises in the Horn of Africa.
  • DFID should develop lasting solutions and target progress in key areas such as infrastructure development that are needed to address chronic poverty.

Graham Ward CBE, ICAI Chief Commissioner said: “Overall the UK made a real and positive difference to the lives of millions of women, men and children in dire need in the Horn of Africa. DFID now need to address the recurring crisis in the region and build sustainability and resilience to work towards longer term solutions.”

Notes to editors:

For further information please contact Clare Robathan on 020 7270 6734 or c-robathan@icai.independent.gov.uk.

The Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) is the independent body responsible for scrutinising UKaid. We focus on maximising the effectiveness of the UKaid budget for intended beneficiaries and on delivering value for money for UKtaxpayers. For further details on ICAI, the workplan and for links to each report please visit www.independent.gov.uk/icai.

ICAI’s Chief Commissioner isGraham WardCBE. The three other Commissioners are: Mark Foster, John Githongo and Diana Good. Their biographies can be found on the ICAI website.

This report was prepared by ICAI with the assistance of KPMG LLP, Agulhas Applied Knowledge, Center of Evaluation for Global Action (CEGA) and the Swedish Institute for Public Administration (SIPU International).

ICAI Traffic Light Ratings:

  • Green: The programme performs well overall against ICAI’s criteria for effectiveness and value for money. Some improvements are needed.
  • Green-Amber: The programme performs relatively well overall against ICAI’s criteria for effectiveness and value for money. Improvements should be made.
  • Amber-Red: The programme performs relatively poorly overall against ICAI’s criteria for effectiveness and value for money. Significant improvements should be made.
  • Red: The programme performs poorly overall against ICAI’s criteria for effectiveness and value for money. Immediate and major changes need to be made.



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