Registration / Login
text version
War and Peace

 Hot news

Touring the Backyard: Putin Pays Central Asia a Visit
Donbass blockade is finishing off Poroshenko and Akhmetov
If US throws Ukraine under the bus, will Moscow reciprocate?
Military Situation Remains Tense In Eastern Ukraine
Main page » News » View
Printable version
Ethiopia Faces Famine Despite Unprecedented Economic Growth
20.12.15 11:58 Africa

Despite recording double-digit economic growth in recent years, Ethiopia is in serious need of food aid. Observers consider the current food crisis to be the worst in thirty years, similar to the famine of 1984-85, which led to thousands of deaths.

According to a report by the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs the number of relief food beneficiaries in Ethiopia has increased to 4.5 million people this month.

Government officials estimate that 10.1 million people will face critical food shortages in 2016. The figure includes 5.75 million Ethiopian children.

The food crisis in the country is being played down by the Ethiopian government, which has decided to rename famine and starvation as “food insecurity”:

According to some inside Ethiopia, NGOs are being warned not to use the words “famine, starvation or death” in their food appeals. Neither are they to say that “children are dying on a daily basis,” or refer to “widespread famine” or say that “the policies of the government in Ethiopia are partially to blame.” Neither are they allowed to “compare the current crisis to the famine of the eighties.” Instead, the latest drought in Ethiopia is to be described as “food insecurity caused by a drought related to El Nino.”

While the Ethiopian government says that the cause of “food insecurity” in the country is drought related to El Nino, Dawit Ayele Haylemari, a graduate ttudent of Political Science at University of Passau, thinks otherwise:

Many experts relate Ethiopias cyclical famine with the countrys dependence on Rainfed smallholder agriculture, drought, rapid population growth or agricultural market dysfunctions. Although these factors do have significant role in the matter, they tend to hide the critical cause of hunger in the country – lack of rights and accountable government […]

A historical investigation of famine also identified 30 major famines during the 20th century. All happened in countries led by autocratic rule or that were under armed conflict, four being in Ethiopia […]

Why does autocracy lead to famine? The most fundamental reason is that autocrats often dont care enough about the population to prevent famine. Autocrats maintain power through force, not popular approval. This argument has been proven true in the case of Ethiopia.

The food crisis, in the fifth largest economy in Sub Saharan Africa, has become one of the hot topics discussed by Ethiopian netizens online.

Adisu Habte took a jab at Ethiopians in the Diaspora talking about the issue on social media while their fellow citizens are dying:

Well the hunger continues in Ethiopian while Ethiopians living in Philadelphia continue to do nothing but post on their social media page and have conversation about politics at Dunkin Donuts and at the Hookah lounge […] Lets not watch as Ethiopians are starving to death.

Endalkachew Chala writes:

Yep! The ‘fast growing’ economy in Ethiopia is busted …

While Betelhem Ephrem advises Ethiopians not to politicise the issue:

For once lets make this issues about the people who are desperately in need of survival than our political discourse. lets not make a mockery of the people at this time of crisis.

Answering to a Facebook user, Anania Sorri, who wanted to know the source of the information that 4.5 million are facing hunger, Addis Standard writes:

Dear Anania Sorri – It is widely known that figures in this country are often the results of negotiations between the government and aid agencies (in this case) or the government and financial institutions (in the case of growth). But in the face of eminent crop failure in many parts of the country in the coming harvest season, this one doesnt seem to be overly exaggerated.

Responding to calls from some Ethiopians that citizens need to pray, Biyya Oromiyaa says:

How is praying a solution to hunger in Ethiopia? Hungry people need emergency food, and a good agricultural policy with political will and democracy. Hunger has nothing to do with God in Ethiopia, maybe elsewhere. Hunger is created by the combination of regime policy failure, political oppression and climate change. So good advice would be to remove the regime than instruct us to pray.

Fikrejesus Amahazion, a Horn of Africa scholar focusing on African development, human rights and political economy, points to another irony of the current food crisis:

Ironically, while Ethiopia is facing a hunger crisis and making urgent appeals for aid, tonnes of food are actually leaving the country. This illogical development is due to the fact that the regime in Addis has sold large tracts of arable land to a range of foreign investors and corporations in transactions described as “land grabs.” The process also involves “villagization,” a government-led program which entails the forcible relocation of indigenous communities from locations reserved for large, foreign-owned plantations. Reports by rights groups list a plethora of human rights violations, including murders, beatings, rapes, imprisonment, intimidation, and political coercion by the government and authorities.

Ethiopia’s hunger crisis is an important humanitarian issue meriting immediate attention and concern. In order to fully understand the crisis it is imperative to recognize that while the environment has been an important contributing factor, a range of other structural socio-political and governance dynamics, including corruption, the lack of rule of law or democracy, poor governance, failures in long-term planning, and misplaced national and development priorities have also been highly influential.

Finally, Paul Dorosh, Director at International Food Policy Research Institutes Development Strategy and Governance Division, and Shahidur Rashid, Senior Research Fellow at the institute’s Markets, Trade, and Institutions Division are hopeful that the drought will not lead to famine:

The 2015-16 drought and production shortfall need not cause a famine in Ethiopia. By heeding the lessons of past famines, the government and the international donor community can help ensure that there is sufficient availability of cereals to supply Ethiopia’s food needs and sufficient transfers in cash and in kind to provide needy households with adequate access to food. Other food security issues will still need to be resolved, including ensuring adequate nutrition for all individuals. However, there is ample reason for hope that this drought will be remembered, not for a deadly famine, but wise policies and timely interventions built on Ethiopia’s progress of the past 25 years.

 Orphus: ORPS


 Exclusiveread more rss

» Addition by Subtraction, (x, y)↦x−y
» Too Little, Too Late, will there be a Romanov ending for the Sudairi Seven?
» Week 21: When economic arguments end, the arms race begins
» Is Germany losing yet another world war?
» The Islamic State (ISIS) is Made in America: The Pentagon had Planned the Fall of Mosul and Ramadi in 2012
» Has Merkel Been Abandoned?
» The Islamic State and Chaos in the Greater Middle East
» Council on Foreign Relations Grand Strategy: China Must Be Defeated, The TPP Is Essential to Undermining China

 Newsread more rss

» Integrating the Army Into the US Approach to the Pacific
» Russian jets mistakenly bomb US-backed forces in Syria
» Touring the Backyard: Putin Pays Central Asia a Visit
» ISIS Changes Format of War in Iraq Using Partisan Methods
» Great Wall of the EU: China at the gates
» Donbass blockade is finishing off Poroshenko and Akhmetov
» Israel targeted under law passed to help 9/11 families sue Saudis
» Morocco threatens to cut EU ties if farm deal flounders

 Reportsread more rss

» The Cowardice of Aung San Suu Kyi
» EU Steps Up The Pace For Cashless Society In 2017/18
» Islamic States Khorasan Province, 2 Years on
» Can Afghanistans Economy Rebound in 2017?
» Trump triumphed due to downward mobility
» Americas Secret African Drone War Against the Islamic State
» Putin Goes Ballistic In Syria, Obliterates The USAs Secret Mideast Strategy
» Grassroots Fascism: The War Experience of the Japanese People

 Commentariesread more rss

» Nations align in the fight for Syrian peace
» Moscows wriggle room shrinking vis-à-vis Trump
» The $2 Trillion Gamble That Saudi Arabia Cannot Win
» Frances election in total chaos for the mainstream
» If US throws Ukraine under the bus, will Moscow reciprocate?
» Russian Mercenaries In Syria And Around The World
» Did Bayer AG do a Sly Deal on Glyphosate with EU Commission?
» The road to democracy

 Analysisread more rss

» Redrawing the Middle East borders: conspirology or real plan?
» The bankers and the euro
» The cancer of bankers
» Will Trump Destroy the Euro?
» The magic of bankers
» Pakistan and China: Dont Fear Chabahar Port
» South Africas Opposition See Eye to Eye with Trump
» Rex Tillerson and the Myths, Lies and Oil Wars to Come
text version 2006-2017 Inca Group "War and Peace"