Africa News blog
African business, politics and lifestyle
New ways of managing aid are being debated in Britain as global concerns mount over a hunger crisis devastating the drought-affected Horn of Africa.
Randolph Kent, director of the Humanitarian Futures Programme at King’s College in London, says the crisis provides a perfect opportunity for the British government to test its recent promise to reform how it responds to humanitarian emergencies.
The severe drought, caused by the driest weather since 1995 in East Africa, has affected an estimated 10 million people and is expected to continue to worsen into early 2012, according to the United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
While Kent acknowledges the importance of a $145 million (90.2 million pound) injection of humanitarian aid from the British government, he says the money will not help prevent the next Horn of Africa drought and that the government needs to become more “anticipatory”.
A few months ago I wrote a story about a controversial online game posted on Facebook called the “The City That Shouldn’t Exist” that was consequently pulled off the Web days after its launch amid claims it objectified refugees and lacked sensitivity.
Darfur’s joint U.N.-African Union peacekeepers face a dilemma in Darfur which could shape the future of the world’s largest U.N.-funded force.
After violence left five people dead in the highly volatile Kalma Camp, six refugees sought sanctuary in the UNAMID force’s police base there. They are thought to be rebel sympathisers and the government accuses them of instigating the camp clashes, demanding that UNAMID hand them over.
Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Meles Zenawi seemed to anticipate this week exactly what a lot people were thinking about his government’s plan to double the poor country’s GDP and wean it off food aid within just five years.
“I think that this is a very ambitious plan,” he said.
“This is indeed an extremely ambitious plan,” a few minutes later.
And, once more for luck, “We have put in place a high-case scenario which is clearly very, very ambitious.”
The dire state of rich countries’ public finances is likely to squeeze aid to Africa in the next few years, although it may be the bitter pill the fast-growing continent needs to wean itself off handouts.
Even though sub-Saharan economies grew at a pacy 5 percent before the 2009 global slump, aid to the poorest continent also rose after the Group of Seven (G7) richest states promised in 2005 to double development assistance.
Tom Cargill, Assistant Head of the Africa Programme at Chatham House, writes on the West’s relationship with Africa:
French President Nicholas Sarkozy put it best this week, when he spoke of the increasing important of Africa in Global Affairs: “Africa’s formidable demographics and its considerable resources make it the main reservoir for world economic growth in the decades to come.”
The old image of an Africa doomed to get ever poorer has certainly lost credence over the past decade even if it is a view still held by some.
Well, according to a new study, Africans are getting wealthier more quickly than previously believed and the poorest continent’s riches are also spreading beyond the narrow confines of its elite.
The simple answer to the question of how many people died in Congo’s civil war is “too many”.
Trying to get a realistic figure is fraught with difficulties and a new report suggests that a widely used estimate of 5.4 million dead – potentially making Congo the deadliest conflict since World War Two – is hugely inaccurate and that the loss of life may be less than half that.
It has now been 25 years since more than 1 million Ethiopians died as those of us lucky enough to live in the rich world sat transfixed in front of our television screens. The horrible suffering brought with it the biggest outpouring of charity ever seen as governments and ordinary people dug deep to stop it.
But a quarter of a century on foreigners are still feeding a huge number of Ethiopians. The Ethiopian government says poor rains mean 6.2 million of its people need food aid this year and has asked the international community to provide it.
A project in Ethiopia that helps destitute women become self-reliant by providing them with paid employment has attracted a lot of attention from politicians visiting Addis Ababa for an international get-together.
Alem Abebe is a 14-year-old girl who left home three years ago and made her way to the capital. She now earns 50 US cents a day working at the Abebech Gobena project in one of the city’s slums. It’s not enough to send money home, but enough to survive — and to pay for night school.