ACN receives around 7,100 aid project applications annually from nearly 140 countries. In the following pages, we would like to provide you with an overview of our regional funding priorities in 2019. We made a special commitment to the Middle East and Africa, where the need of Christians is particularly great due to the violence of fundamentalist Islam and persistent poverty.
New and dangerous trends are now emerging in Africa. In the north of Nigeria they are already a Church of martyrs. Throughout the Sahel region many missionaries and catechists have paid with their lives for their commitment to Christ. Yet, despite the persecution and oppression, particularly by Islamist terror, the youthful Church in Africa is growing as nowhere else. Last year, in Nigeria, Cameroon and Burkina Faso alone, we supported a range of small projects amounting to 3 million Euros. And the Democratic Republic of the Congo is likewise a priority country for our aid in Africa, receiving funding of no less than 3.3 million Euros.
Our relief measures start with close dialogue with the local churches.
Another emerging hotspot for our aid was Venezuela. Unlike Brazil, where fundamentalist sects in particular make life difficult for the Church, Venezuela, a once wealthy and potentially still prosperous country, suffers from a bankrupt political system and a lack of basic necessities and medical care. For many people, the Church is the only source of security. Something similar could be said of Pakistan and India, where Islamic and Hindu religious extremism are threatening the lives of Christians.