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Another famine in Ethiopia! Why am I not surprised?

Here we go again. Loads of TV ads showing starving Africans as the well-paid Lords of Poverty (sorry, I meant ‘selfless charity workers’) try to guilt-trip us into handing over our money.

The situation in Ethiopia is, as usual, terrible. But unless we start facing the truth about the reasons for Ethiopia’s problems, we’ll be back again with the same ‘starving Ethiopians’ appeals time after time after time:

ethiopia famine appeal 1

So, here are the four main things you need to know about the latest Ethiopian famine:

1. Happens every 7 to 10 years

There is a rainfall shortage in the Horn of Africa every 7 to 10 years. These caused famines in 1892, 1913, 1929, 1935, 1942, 1951, 1958, 1966, 1973, 1984, 1988 and 2004. One reason these rainfall shortages lead to disastrous famines is that agriculture in much of Ethiopia (like pretty much everything else in that violent, poverty-stricken cesspit of a country) has hardly developed at all in the last 500 years.

2. Explosive population growth

In 1965, when the developed world started hosing aid money onto Africa, the population of Ethiopia was a mere 25 million. By 1984, when Saint Bob Geldorf did his BandAid thing, the population had reached about 40 million. Now, 30 years after the (IMHO) foul-mouthed, self-righteous attention-seeker Geldorf did BandAid, the population of Ethiopia is 96 million:

population Ethiopia and Sudan

By 2050, the population of Ethiopia could reach 177 million. It should be more than obvious, even to a creature like Geldorf, that a largely infertile country which is hit by regular droughts cannot ever support such a rapidly growing population. What Ethiopia needs is not more food, but more birth control. Without that, there will always be famines and always be starving millions.

3. Massive corruption

All African countries are corrupt. But Ethiopia is up there with the best (down there with the worst?) of them. Ethiopia receives around $3.4bn in foreign aid each year. Best estimates (Global Financial Integrity project) are that Ethiopia’s rulers are looting at least $2bn a year from their country. Hardly surprising Ethiopia is still and will probably always be a stinking, starving, backward hell-hole. Moreover, the ten richest people in Ethiopia (mostly political leaders and their business cronies) are estimated to be worth about $24.1bn. There’s plenty of money in Ethiopia – enough to feed, clothe and provide clean water for the impoverished – but most of the money ends up in the hands of a tiny. utterly venal ruling elite

4. The food shortages are largely man-made

Several studies of Ethiopian famines (for example Evil Days: Thirty Years of War and Famine in Ethiopia by Alexander De Waal) have suggested that there has usually been enough food in the country. The problem has been more of food distribution rather than food availability. Ethiopia’s many oppressive governments have repeatedly used food as a weapon to crush dissent by starving those in areas seen as hostile to the government. This is even admitted by the Guardian in one of the very few truthful articles the supposed ‘newspaper’ has ever published   http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/poverty-matters/2014/oct/22/ethiopian-famine-report-influence-modern-coverage

The Guardian also admits that much of the aid sent to Ethiopia is stolen by the military

Conclusion

If you want to make Ethiopia’s rulers even richer and continue to subsidise the luxury lifestyles of the holier-than-thou Lords of Poverty working for the charities, please hand over your money.

But if you’re fed up of the self-serving dishonesty and deceit of the international aid brigade then give your money to a small local charity run by volunteers (not fatcat overpaid, over-pensioned executives) doing good work in your area. Ethiopia has money and it has food. Let the Ethiopians sort out their own problems.

And if you haven’t yet seen my short YouTube video about foreign aid to basket-case Africa, here it is:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ds7XQJFBYTk

2 comments to Another famine in Ethiopia! Why am I not surprised?

  • MGJ

    Consider two rival solutions for ending poverty.

    NUMBER ONE:
    Separate church and state
    Respect property rights
    Honour contracts
    Establish means of dispute resolution without violence
    Accept the scientific method as a means of reaching rational decisions
    Squeeze out corruption by minimising the power of the state
    Allow a (genuine) free market
    Establish a credible means of exchange (not fiat money)
    Don’t punish hard work or success.

    NUMBER TWO:
    Hand out free stuff.

    Number one successfully dragged us out of medieval poverty and violence and has worked in every other case it has ever been tried. Number two has consistently failed over many decades and in every place it has ever been tried.

    Number two it is then…

  • John Fields

    I have just written to the Prime Minister to suggest that he changes our aid
    programme from 100 million pounds to 100 million condoms, and that he and the rest of
    his Cabinet go over to show the Ethiopians how to use them. I am only dreaming.

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