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Humanitarian aid ICRC chief seeks cooperation with private sector

Maurer during a panel session with representatives from the business world, the UN and governments at the WEF meeting in Davos 

(Keystone)

The president of the Swiss-based International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has called for new ways to make humanitarian aid more sustainable, including partnerships with the private sector.

Speaking at a panel of the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos on Thursday, Peter Maurer said the traditional aid system was ideally suited to help stabilise a situation and provide essential goods in a crisis.

However, other options had to be considered to allow conflict-stricken communities to regain the necessary strength to function without being dependent on outside help.

Maurer said cooperation with the private sector was a promising and sustainable model and the interest was mutual, he told the Swiss News Agency.

He added that the ICRC had no choice but to look for new options as the need for aid was increasing every month.

Maurer cited a joint aid project with Swiss companies in Somalia, while Ajay Banga, CEO of American Mastercard, referred to project in Lebanon and Jordan involving the United Nations World Food Programme and special pre-paid card system for people in refugee camps.

However, Maurer said more needed to be done to explain such partnership model as there was plenty of scepticism among politicians.

swissinfo.ch with agencies/ug


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