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WFP Struggles as Traditional Donors Withdraw


Ntsoaki Motaung

The World Food Programme (WFP) has revealed a distressing reality: its financial lifelines have dwindled significantly, plunging the organisation into a crisis of support. 

The Lesotho Annual Country Report 2023 starkly illustrates how traditional donors have turned their backs, leaving WFP to navigate treacherous waters with a mere fraction of its requisite funds.

The report indicates that a total of USD 22.1 million in funding was available, covering only 45 per cent of the 2023 Country Strategic Plan (CSP) needs. 

Cumulatively, from the CSP’s initiation in July 2019 until June 2024, the received funding totalled USD 64.3 million, covering just 38 per cent of the needs-based plan.

Disparities in Funding

The report highlighted significant disparities in funding levels across various activities. While some strategic outcome areas received satisfactory funding, delays in fund disbursements significantly impacted the implementation and expenditure of certain activities.

A portion of the received funds was allocated to multi-year initiatives earmarked for subsequent years, including funding from the Adaptation Fund for resilience-building activities and the Smallholder Agriculture Development Project funding earmarked for nutrition interventions. 

From the CSP’s inception in July 2019 to date, strategic outcomes 3 and 4 received the highest funding at 65 and 64 percent respectively, while strategic outcome 2 recorded the lowest funding at 34 percent.

Decline in Donor Support

“In 2023, WFP saw a notable reduction in support from its traditional donors, receiving only USD 2 million in funding. This amount reflects a 70 per cent reduction compared to the support received in the preceding year and a 68 per cent decline from the funding received in 2021,” the report read.

Out of the USD 22.1 million available funding in 2023, carry-over balances from 2022 accounted for 65 per cent of the funding while 25 per cent was received from multilateral funding, including the anticipatory action fund. The remaining 10 per cent originated from traditional donors.

Adjustments and Internal Funding

Due to delayed payments in 2022, WFP revised the implementation plan from USD 11.9 million to USD 13.8 million, reflecting an increase of 9 per cent. In 2023, WFP received internal funding to implement anticipatory action activities in response to the projected El Nino between October 2023 and December 2023. Additionally, WFP received Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) funding for joint programming with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

Collaborative Efforts and Innovative Funding

The report directed contributions towards the innovative geospatial platform for the government of Lesotho, aiming to bolster governance and evidence-based decision-making on various national issues. WFP stated in the report its intention to harmonise plans with governmental initiatives aimed at enhancing financial support for the implementation of the CSP.

This involves forging close collaborations with key government ministries, notably the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, as well as other relevant ministries, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Relations. The overarching objective is to facilitate domestic and collaborative resource mobilisation efforts, thereby contributing significantly to improved funding opportunities for the CSP.

Embracing Flexible Funding Channels

“Through the Government of Lesotho’s leadership on innovative finance, WFP will engage with sources such as International Financial Institutions (IFIs), development agencies, public-private partnerships, and the private sector,” the report added. Embracing these flexible funding channels is crucial to support WFP’s pursuit of achieving Zero Hunger, aligning seamlessly with the government of Lesotho’s vision of fostering self-reliance.

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