Swiss double aid to Horn of Africa

Switzerland said on Wednesday that it would double its aid and give 20 million francs ($25 million) more to help drought-hit victims in the Horn of Africa.

“This will be used above all for the benefit of the population in southern Somalia, malnourished children in the Dadaab refugee camp, and the host communities in northern Kenya,” said the Swiss Foreign Ministry.  

The new funds come on top of the 19 million francs already allotted to the region, where 12 million people are in danger of starvation amid serious drought.  

Switzerland has been a regular donor to the region since the 1990s and sent an emergency response team at the end of July to help drought and famine relief efforts on site.

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Swiss see hike in Africa tobacco smuggling

Swizerland has seen a large-scale hike in cigarette-smuggling from Africa where prices are 10 times cheaper, a senior customs official said on Wednesday.

A number of passengers arriving from Senegal have been found to be carrying 100 to 300 cartons of cigarettes in their luggage, Geneva regional customs director Jerome Coquoz told reporters.

“A carton is sold in Senegal for the equivalent of 7.5 Swiss francs ($8.1) while it is worth 76 Swiss francs in Switzerland,” he said.

Last year, Geneva regional customs seized 14 “large” consignments of Malboro cigarettes, involving 2,500 cartons, he said, suggesting this was a new form of trafficking.

Meanwhile drug seizures were also up last year at Geneva airport, including 28 kilos of cocaine.