Paul Coles, Youthworkerish type guy. Present location: Targu Mures, Romania. Married to an amazing girl named Fiona. I'm on a JOURNEY and have no idea where I'll end up other than in the hands of God.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The answers are never simple, are they…

Food aid in Africa can cause absolute havoc, says Thilo Thielke. Take Northern Kenya. This barren wasteland racked by years of warfare, drought and government neglect never had the resources to sustain more than a few people. In the pre-aid days, nomads would kill off some of their livestock to survive, thereby helping the grazing lands to recover. Those who couldn’t sustain themselves would depart to find work in the cities. Yet today, after years of well-meaning UN handouts, the region has become “hopelessly” overpopulated. Thanks to the UN’s World Food Programme people don’t even bother growing vegetables; they just hang around waiting for the corn trucks to arrive from Nairobi. As long as they are fed they have no incentive to slaughter their cattle, a local currency which is inflating so fast it now costs 100 cows to purchase a bride. The huge herds are destroying grasslands and even starting to encroach on Kenya’s national parks, speeding up the process of desertification. None of this is remotely understood by western donors. If only they could see that food aid has created a “deadly dependency,” and that not all of Africa’s poor are equally deserving.

Taken from Der Spiegel (Hamburg) via The Week

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