ACN receives around 5,700 aid project applications annually from 138 countries. In the following pages, we would like to provide you with an overview of our regional funding priorities in 2020. Once again we focused our efforts on the African continent where Christians suffer great hardships as a result of Islamic fundamentalist violence and extreme, persistent poverty, a situation which has been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.
Our relief measures start with close dialogue with the local churches.
Receiving nearly one-third of the funding, Africa (32.6%) was again the priority region for our aid projects in 2020. The situation there is dramatic, especially in the Sahel zone, where Christians are victims of persecution, violence and expulsion. The coronavirus pandemic has further aggravated the situation of the Church.
Europe (19.1%) moved further up the priority list in 2020. Many funds went to countries in Eastern Europe, as many priests, but also nuns, are suffering existential hardships due to the pandemic. Another funding priority is Asia (18.0%). The continent was hit particularly hard by the pandemic. Thanks to our coronavirus emergency aid, local churches were at least able to purchase protective equipment and cushion their financial burdens.
Latin America (14.8%) was also one of the epicentres of the pandemic in 2020, further increasing poverty among the population and causing priests to face added hardships due to the lack of collections. The sharp drop in aid to the Middle East (14.2%) is due to the construction stop for Christians on the Nineveh Plains. As a result of Covid-19, simply no building material could be delivered.