The Horn of Africa is experiencing its worst drought in 60 years, leading the UN to declare famine in the region [Reuters]

An African donors conference has pledged $356m to help more than 12 million people across the Horn of Africa suffering from the region's worst drought in 60 years.

The African Development Bank offered $300m while African countries and other private donors raised the rest, the African Union Commission chief Jean Ping announced on Thursday.

The fund-raising conference, which was held in Ethiopia, was the first of its kind by the pan-African body, which has so far pledged only $500,000 of the needed $2.4bn to assist drought victims.

The Horn of Africa is suffering its worst drought in decades which, combined with conflict and resource mismanagement in Somalia, has led to what the UN described as the world's worst unfolding humanitarian disaster.

The world body, for the first time this century, has declared a state of famine in five Somali regions and said it could spread to engulf the country's entire south.

The drought has also left millions in parts of Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya and Uganda facing starvation.

Source: Agencies