Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
Tags: 'Death Awaits': Africa Faces Worst Drought in Half a Century, Africa, catatrphic famine, Ethiopia, Famine Ethiopia, Why Famine is a Permanent Phenomenon in Ethiopia?
Farmers, traders and consumers across East and Southern Africa are feeling the impact of consecutive seasons of drought that have scorched harvests and ruined livelihoods.
Ethiopia: The strongest El Niño phenomenon on record led to an extreme drought in 2016, with 10.2 million in need of food aid. A new drought means 2017 could be just as dire, throwing an additional 5.7 million people into crisis. Farmers and herders found their resilience tested to the limit last year. They have very limited resources left to cope with the current crisis. More at IRIN: Drought in Africa.
2016 was a challenging year for Ethiopia. But 2017 could be equally dire, as the country has been hit by a new drought. As 2.4 million farmers and herders cannot sustainably practice their livelihoods and reinvigorate their already drought-stricken farms, the new drought is throwing an additional 5.7 million people into crisis.
At the launch of the Humanitarian Requirements Document, UN Humanitarian Chief Stephen O’Brien called for US$948 million to meet people’s survival and livelihoods needs in 2017.
“We need to act now before it is too late,” he said. “We have no time to lose. Livestock are already dying, pastoralists and farmers are already fleeing their homes in search of water and pasture, and hunger and malnutrition levels will rise soon if assistance does not arrive on time.”
Source: 2017 Humanitarian Requirements Document
Back-to-back cycles of poor or non-existent rainfall since 2015, coupled with the strongest El Niño on record, led to Ethiopia’s worst drought in decades. The new drought has hit southern and eastern regions, and pastoralists and farmers are fleeing their homes to find water and pasture.
The new drought extends beyond Ethiopia’s borders—in Kenya and Somalia, it has already pushed 1.3 million people and 5 million people into hunger, respectively. Severe water and pasture shortages in Somalia have resulted in livestock deaths, disrupted livelihoods and caused massive food shortages.
Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
Tags: Africa, Ethiopia, Famine, Famine and the “Ethiopia rising” meme, Famine Ethiopia, UNICEF, Why Famine is a Permanent Phenomenon in Ethiopia?
- A negative Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) resulted in below average rainfall over East Africa and led to drought situations in Somali, Oromia and SNNP regions. The humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate and more than 4.2 million people in these regions are targeted to receive food aid in 2017 (out of a total of 5.6 million people estimated to require food assistance in Ethiopia in 2017). These people are also in critical need of emergency water, health and nutrition services.
- The Ministry of Health, with support from health partners and UNICEF, has started a regular national measles vaccination targeting 22.9 million children.
- The Government of Ethiopia, with support from WASH partners, including UNICEF, is providing water rations to an estimated 839,500 people in Afar, Oromia, SNNP, Somali and Tigray regions.
- Child protection and education sectors remain largely underfunded, with no funds received for 2017 in either programme. Both programmes play a critical role in protecting emergency affected children and addressing children’s psychosocial needs.
SITUATION IN NUMBERS
5.6 million people* require relief food assistance in 2017
303,000 children* are expected to require treatment for SAM in 2017
9.2 million people* require access to safe drinking water and sanitation services
2 million school-aged children* require emergency school feeding and learning materials assistance
There are 801,079 refugees in Ethiopia (UNHCR, January 2017)
Situation Overview and Humanitarian Needs
The humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate in Somali, Oromia plus parts of SNNP regions. According to the 2017 Humanitarian Requirements Document (HRD), 5.6 million people require relief food aid in Ethiopia, including more than 4.2 million people in the Horn of Africa (HoA) drought affected regions. However, as the drought situation is worsening, an increase in people requiring food aid is expected. Water shortage and depletion of pasture have resulted in the displacement of mainly pastoralist populations to neighbouring woredas and regions as well as the deaths of a large number of livestock. In addition, the displacement of families has further disrupted already limited education opportunities for children and significantly increased the risk for children’s separation from families, abuse and exploitation. In Afar, failure of seasonal rains in December 2016 has resulted in critical water shortage.
In early February 2017, UNICEF has undertaken an assessment of the impact of the drought in the most affected zones of SNNP region (Gamo Gofa, Segen and South Omo). The assessment findings indicate that water, food and livestock feed are the most pressing needs in the affected areas.
The renewed influx of Somali and South Sudanese refugees into Somali and SNNP regions, respectively, has further stressed the already dire situation in these regions. In SNNP, a total of 4,800 families seeking asylum have fled South Sudan due to food insecurity and conflict and have reportedly settled in Ngangatom woreda of South Omo zone in January 2017. In Somali region, 4,106 asylum seekers from Somalia have arrived in Ethiopia between 1 January and 28 February 2017, fleeing from a conflict exacerbated by food insecurity.
Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
Tags: Africa, Aid, Corruption, Down Down Wayane TPLF, Ethiopia, Ethiopia: TPLF's corruption empire, Ethiopia:When Aid Goes Wrong, Ethiopia’s secret genocide, EU, Famine, Famine and Ethiopia rising meme, Famine Ethiopia, Fascist TPLF Ethiopia, Genocide, Illicit Financial Flows from Ethiopia, Illicit Financial outflows, Somalia, TPLF, TPLF in Somalia, Tyranny, USA
In what could be an important test of the Trump Administration’s attitude toward foreign aid, the new United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, and UN aid chief Stephen O’Brien have called on the international community to give the Ethiopian government another $948 million to assist a reported 5.6 million people facing starvation.
Speaking in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, during the recent 28th Summit of the African Union, Guterres described Ethiopia as a “pillar of stability” in the tumultuous Horn of Africa, praised its government for an effective response to last year’s climate change-induced drought that left nearly 20 million people needing food assistance, and asked the world to show “total solidarity” with the regime.
Women and children wait for care at an outpatient treatment center in Lerra village, Wolayta, Ethiopia, on June 10, 2008. (Jose Cendon/Bloomberg News)
Ethiopia is aflame with rebellions against its unpopular dictatorship, which tried to cover up the extent of last year’s famine. But even if the secretary general’s encouraging narrative were true, it still begs the question: Why, despite ever-increasing amounts of foreign support, can’t this nation of 100 million clever, enterprising people feed itself? Other resource-poor countries facing difficult environmental challenges manage to do so.
Two numbers tell the story in a nutshell:
1. The amount of American financial aid received by Ethiopia’s government since it took power: $30 billion.
2. The amount stolen by Ethiopia’s leaders since it took power: $30 billion.
The latter figure is based on the UN’s own 2015 report on Illicit Financial Outflows by a panel chaired by former South African President Thabo Mbeki and another from Global Financial Integrity, an American think tank. These document $2-3 billion—an amount roughly equaling Ethiopia’s annual foreign aid and investment—being drained from the country every year, mostly through over- and under-invoicing of imports and exports.
Ethiopia’s far-left economy is centrally controlled by a small ruling clique that has grown fantastically wealthy. Only they could be responsible for this enormous crime. In other words, the same Ethiopian leadership that’s begging the world for yet another billion for its hungry people is stealing several times that amount every year.
The Trump Administration has not evinced particular interest in democracy promotion, but much of Ethiopia’s and the region’s problems stem from Ethiopia’s lack of the accountability that only democracy confers. A more accountable Ethiopian government would be forced to implement policies designed to do more than protect its control of the corruption. It would have to free Ethiopia’s people to develop their own solutions to their challenges and end their foreign dependency. It would be compelled to make the fight on terror more effective by decreasing fraud, basing military promotions on merit instead of cronyism and ending the diversion of state resources to domestic repression. An accountable Ethiopian government would have to allow more relief to reach those who truly need it and reduce the waste of U.S. taxpayers’ generous funding. Representative, accountable government would diminish the Ogaden’s secessionist tendencies that drive Ethiopia’s counterproductive Somalia strategy.
Prime Minister of Ethiopia Hailemariam Desalegn attends the 28th African Union summit in Addis Ababa on January 30, 2017. (ZACHARIAS ABUBEKER/AFP/Getty Images)
But Ethiopia’s government believes it has America over a barrel and doesn’t have to be accountable to us or to its own people. Like Mr. Guterres, past U.S. presidents have been afraid to confront the regime, which even forced President Barack Obama into a humiliating public defense of its last stolen election. The result has been a vicious cycle of enablement, corruption, famine and terror.
Whether the Trump Administration will be willing to play the same game remains to be seen. The answer will serve as a signal to other foreign leaders who believe America is too craven to defend its money and moral values.
Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
Tags: Africa, Famine, Famine and the “Ethiopia rising” meme, Famine Ethiopia, Why Famine is a Permanent Phenomenon in Ethiopia?
5.6 Million Ethiopians are in need of emergency food assistance in 2017. Failed rains from late September to November caused a new drought in Oromia, Somali and SNNP regions. Pastoralist and agro pastoralist communities in Borena, Guji, Bale and East Hararge zones of Oromia region, all the nine zones of Somali region and Omo, Gamo Gofa and Segen zones of SNNP region are the most affected.
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Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
Tags: Africa, Ethiopia, Ethiopia and poverty, Famine, Famine Ethiopia, Why Famine is a Permanent Phenomenon in Ethiopia?
Drought exacerbated by El Niño, combined with extensive flooding, disease outbreaks and the disruption of basic public services, continue to have a negative impact on the lives and livelihoods of 9.7 million Ethiopians. Urgent funding gaps for the response remain across multiple sectors to the end of 2016, notably for response to Acute Watery Diarrhoea (AWD), for interventions in animal health and food assistance. Major funding requirements are already anticipated for early 2017, as there are concerning indications that the current negative Indian Ocean Dipole, may affect water availability, livestock body condition and Meher harvest performance in southern and eastern Ethiopia.
Some 2,000,000 pastoralists and agro pastoralists need emergency food assistance; serious water shortage continues to affect the regions
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Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
Tags: Africa, Black market, Economic Shortage, economics, Economics of shortage, Ethiopia: The chronic shortage economy, Famine and Ethiopia rising meme, Famine Ethiopia, Foreign Exchange, Queue, Queue and Ethiopia in 2015
(Addis Fortune) — Ethiopia’s foreign currency supply available for importers and travellers alike is increasingly facing chronic shortages, claims an importer engaged in trading of household appliances from Asian countries, while opting to speak to Fortune on conditions of anonymity. As the country’s foreign exchange provision plummets into a whirlpool, the parallel or black market for hard foreign currency (which has become a rare commodity), is thriving in the country.
The forex shortage is so critical that opening a Letter of Credit (LC) takes as long as one year or even more, and even then, there is no guarantee that the requested amount of foreign currency will be availed, the importer complained.
His is not the sole voice of concern with the increasing scarcity of foreign currency in Ethiopia, as his view is also shared by a senior executive of a private bank and an economics lecturer, who also chose to speak anonymously to Fortune. They argue that basic economic principles of supply and demand suffice to explain the ongoing critical shortfall of forex in Ethiopia.
Both the banker and economist posited three basic factors: global economic slowdown, Ethiopia’s mega projects consuming huge loads of hard currency and the country’s widening trade balance, as the genesis of the shortage.
As the world still reels from the financial meltdown of 2008 and the subsequent global economic slowdown, it has negatively affected and upset long term foreign investment in the country, the banker and economist argued. However, a recent study by the United Nations Conference on Trade & Development (UNCTAD) discovered that Ethiopia is actually the third largest recipient of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Africa, with inflows of 953 million dollars in 2014 and 279 million dollars in 2013, highlighting a rapidly rising trend.
Ethiopia’s mega projects in hydroelectric generation, sugar production, and rail transport, continue to drain the country’s hard currency reserves, with high demand for public investment, the experts argued. Import of capital goods and construction-related services increased sharply in Ethiopia according to a June 2015 IMF report, utilising large sums of hard currency.
In line with the country’s development endeavours, the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) has a policy of prioritising provision of foreign exchange for selected goods and services based on a designated priority, which shuns other imports, the banker explained. The mega projects top the priority list and drain the country’s forex reserves.
In addition to the impact of the country’s mega projects taking a rather large chunk of the highly limited forex reserve, Ethiopia’s trade balance is also one of the major factors affecting the availability of hard currency.
Though Ethiopia’s exports have registered growth over the past years, the growth rate of its imports has been at a much faster pace, resulting in an ever widening gap in the overall trade balance of the country.
Reports by NBE indicate that though the country’s export trade has been registering steady growth in the recent past, with exports worth roughly two billion dollars in 2009/10, increased to 3.25 billion dollars in 2013/14 and more than 1.6 billion dollars in the first two quarters of the current fiscal year, the country’s imports have skyrocketed at an alarming rate.
NBE’s data show that Ethiopia’s imports have maintained a robust course of growth over the years as the country imported goods worth roughly 8.27 billion dollars in 2009/10, increased to 13.72 billion dollars in 2013/14 and well over eight billion dollars in the first two quarters of the current fiscal year.
The national bank’s data also highlight the distressingly widening trade imbalance which continues to haunt Ethiopia’s balance of trade. As such, the trade deficit was put at an estimated -6.27 billion dollars in 2009/10, -10.47 billion dollars in 2013/14 and roughly -6.6 billion dollars for only the first two quarters of 2015.
This imbalance has partly been caused as a result of slow-evolving export growth rates with falling commodity prices and lack of diversification in exports, loopholes underscored by the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) report.
But beyond the basic economic principles of demand and supply used as tools to explain the shortage of forex, other variables are worth exploring to get the picture of the problem in its entirety.
One important aspect is the proliferation of the black market and shady business deals between businesspeople and bankers. As anxious importers are willing to pay whatever cost they are made to pay to avoid penalties during delivery of imported goods, and as some corrupt bank staff and managers take advantage of the situation, the forex shortage has worsened.
Fortune spoke to a dealer, who, on conditions of anonymity, explained some of the processes in which brokers, importers, exporters and bankers engage, to facilitate the provision of forex at a faster time interval than normal. He stated that the deals take place underground but strictly follow legal procedural steps. This makes the whole process virtually undetectable by regulations of the national bank.
At the current going rate, a person who wants to get forex ahead of the pack, has to pay as much as three Birr for every dollar they request in their LC, the dealer told Fortune. His job is to bring together the bankers and the importers and the deal will be done. He also explained a different, still illegal, mode of acquiring forex employed in the context of secret partnerships between corrupt importers, exporters and bankers.
In this case, the dealer negotiates a proposal between an exporter and an importer where the latter will make use of the export earnings of the former, by paying the current going rate for every dollar used. The dealer once again negotiates the proposed scheme with the bankers and once on board, they jointly facilitate the importers’ access to hard currency.
The lack of transparency in opening LCs has cast an ominous shadow on the industry, according to several importers and the banker who spoke with Fortune. NBE recently took a highly publicised measure against the Cooperative Bank of Oromia for alleged mishandling of forex involving LCs.
One importer noted that a growing number of suppliers in Asia are now rejecting LCs opened in certain banks from Ethiopia, due to unpaid credits, emboldening his opinion that unless the regulatory state apparatus takes a serious overhaul at the forex provision, darker days are yet to come.
Travellers are also feeling the brunt of the forex crunch. As one traveller put it, she considers herself lucky if she can get 500 dollars from banks for a travel visa. The chronic shortage, she adds, has fed the parallel market for forex and its proportions and ramifications on the country’s economy are growing daily.
The CIA’s Factbook showed Ethiopia’s reserve of foreign exchange and gold was 3.785 billion dollars at the end of 2014. International financial institutions such as IMF have stated that they support the national bank’s objective of having foreign exchange reserves to cover three months of imports – but the central bank has so far, failed to respond to any of the questions Fortune had regarding the overall forex shortage in the country, including the state of forex reserves.
In addition to racking up the reserves, NBE should proactively counter all the shady business deals now widespread in the banking sector to cut the business community and the overall economy of the country, some slack.
Ethiopia: The chronic shortage economy: What is the price and utility of a kilo of Sugar in Finfinnee (Addis Ababa) in terms of never ending queue?
Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
Tags: Africa, Africa is still struggling with poverty, Ethiopia, Famine, Famine and the “Ethiopia rising” meme, Famine Ethiopia, poverty, Why Famine is a Permanent Phenomenon in Ethiopia?
HOW BAD IS THE DROUGHT IN ETHIOPIA?
IRIN humanitarian news and Analysis
19 November 2015
Alarm bells are ringing for a food emergency in Ethiopia. The UN says 15 million people will need help over the coming months. The government, wary of stigma and therefore hesitant to ask for help, has nevertheless said more than eight million Ethiopians need food assistance. Extra imports to stem the crisis are already pegged at more than a million tonnes of grain, beyond the government’s means. Inevitably, comment and media coverage compare the current situation with 1984 – the year Ethiopia’s notorious famine hit the headlines. Reports suggest this is the worst drought in 30 years. One declares it a“code red” drought. So how bad actually is it?
The country of close to 100 million people is huge, spread over an area of more than a million square kilometres that ranges from semi-desert to swamp to mountain ranges and fertile farmland. The weather systems and agricultural patterns are diverse and complex. Even within the higher-altitude areas of the country, the most densely populated, the typical rainy seasons vary and crops are grown at different times of the year. This year, the weather has been prone to even greater variation due to the global climate phenomenon El Niño, last seen in 1997-1998.
Ethiopia produces more than 90 percent of its own food. Last year, the cereal harvest was estimated to be 23 million tonnes, but imports in recent years averaged 1.2 million tonnes – just five percent of that. So even if 2015 and 2016 are bad years (the impact of a poor harvest is felt months later as food stocks run out), the vast majority of Ethiopian people will support themselves and eat produce from their own country. But in a giant like Ethiopia, 15 percent of the population is 15 million people – more than the entire humanitarian caseload of the Syrian crisis. An extra five percent of cereals is another 1.2 million tonnes.The costs and logistics become formidable at this scale.
The weather is only one part of the equation in whether people go hungry. Politics, economics, the availability of seeds and fertiliser, conflict, trade and labour markets, population pressure, social habits, and a host of other factors matter too.
While the science and sociology of food security is complex and layered, international agencies working on drought and hunger-prone countries, including Ethiopia, use a scheme called the Integrated Food Security and Humanitarian Phase Classification Framework (IPC) to simplify the mass of underlying data into a five-step scale – from minimal food security pressure to famine. Some parts of northern Ethiopia are already flagged as being in “Phase 4”, one step from the worst category. More are expected to follow, unless sufficient resources can halt the slide.
Even getting a single view of one year’s weather, let alone human interaction with it, is no simple matter.
For more than 30 years, meteorologists have gathered a giant archive of satellite data for Ethiopia. US satellites, in particular METOP-AVHRR, churn out petabytes of data. Triangulating that with other sources, including ground-based measurement, farm assessments, nutrition, and price monitoring provides a rich toolkit to estimate vegetation, rainfall, soil moisture and temperature – ultimately giving an idea of food on the table.
Considering all the variables, the drought and famine watchdog FEWS NET, established in the wake of the 1984 famine, has used direct, but not alarmist, language to describe the prospects: its latest report for Ethiopia is titled “Large-scale food security emergency projected for 2016”. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, meanwhile, warned: “food security conditions sharply deteriorated.”
Political sensitivity, donor pressures, logistics, media distortion, inefficiency and scepticism may yet conspire to tip more Ethiopians into “Phase 4.” Even in the best-case scenario, the financial resources will be hard to find – $270m is still needed for 2015 alone, according to UN’s emergency aid coordination body, OCHA, and needs are set to rise sharply (the US, the UK and China have pledged relatively early to the response, according to the government).
To illustrate the complexity of weather patterns in Ethiopia and attempt to demonstrate a link with El Niño, IRIN analysed 30 years of satellite imagery to provide some visual evidence of the complex and erratic picture of weather in the Horn of Africa. Read more in the following link
Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
Tags: catatrphic famine, Ethiopia in 2015, Famine, Famine and the “Ethiopia rising” meme, Famine Ethiopia, Tyranny and Famine
This is Ethiopia in 2015: Over 15 million are like this
Despite the “Ethiopia rising” meme, the country remains a place where 30.7% of the population live on less than 1.25$/day ; 88 children out of 1000 live births die every year before they reach the age of 5; 67% of all deaths of children aged under 5 years take place before a child’s first birthday; a total of 34.6% of children are born underweight, while 50.7% are stunted; and Ethiopia is a country which has one of the world’s highest maternal mortality ratios (675 maternal deaths/100 000 live births). In addition, Ethiopia is now facing yet another severe drought and looming famine catastrophe ; the worst it has seen in 30 years and estimated 15 million people will likely need food assistance in 2016. UNICEF figures indicate a 27% increase in the number of children treated for Severe Acute Malnutrition already; 197 woredas had measles outbreaks; 14,300 suspected and 11,700 confirmed measles cases so far. Once again, the international community has started its never ending task of feeding hungry Ethiopians who are failed by their own government. http://shemsubireda.tumblr.com/post/133198947059/the-ethiopia-rising-meme
The “Ethiopia rising” meme
We have been sold this “Ethiopia rising” meme for years now. The Ethiopian government keeps projecting this narrative 24/7. State media have been preoccupied with plastering images of construction projects and GDP rates on the minds of citizens; and Global “Experts on Africa” have added the “Ethiopia rising” meme to their already existing “Africa rising” meme as well.
The “Ethiopia rising” meme has become pernicious in part because it is half-truth. Construction projects are indeed visibly “booming”. We can at least see the Addis Ababa light rail with our own eyes. Sophisticated international economists tell us the latest GDP figures as well. Local, Bole resident, developmental government minions and cadres echo these GDP figures too; along with their fellow traveler, foreign born drive by reporters who are mostly based in Addis Ababa; They go out on field missions on few occasions and believe new buildings and a new light rail in Addis Ababa is the same as development of an entire country of 94 million people.
For such people, their echo chamber is filled with the “Ethiopia rising” noise. As a result, “Ethiopia rising” is the answer to everything. They have been so primed with this meme that they might even answer the question “What is 1 + 1?” with “Ethiopia rising”. Ask them if bricks can be bread or if starving children can eat a train and they will have no answer. (Or maybe they’ll just answer you with “Ethiopia rising”)
Skeptics of this “Ethiopia rising” meme have always been unwilling to buy into this narrative and refuse to equate Ethiopia’s GDP growth with development. Despite the “Ethiopia rising” meme, the country remains a place where 30.7% of the population live on less than 1.25$/day ; 88 children out of 1000 live births die every year before they reach the age of 5; 67% of all deaths of children aged under 5 years take place before a child’s first birthday; a total of 34.6% of children are born underweight, while 50.7% are stunted; and Ethiopia is a country which has one of the world’s highest maternal mortality ratios (675 maternal deaths/100 000 live births)
In addition, Ethiopia is now facing yet another severe drought and looming famine catastrophe ; the worst it has seen in 30 years and estimated 15 million people will likely need food assistance in 2016. UNICEF figures indicate a 27% increase in the number of children treated for Severe Acute Malnutrition already; 197 woredas had measles outbreaks; 14,300 suspected and 11,700 confirmed measles cases so far. Once again, the international community has started its never ending task of feeding hungry Ethiopians who are failed by their own government; yet another evidence for why the “Ethiopia rising” meme remains half-truth, if not a complete lie.
The extent of lives lost due to the ongoing drought is an unknown know reality for the moment. The government has suppressed report on mortality rates. Although public health information is incomplete without such vital statistics, UNICEF’s situations reports on the current humanitarian crisis bear no mortality rates. Even zero deaths should be reported in well-respected information sources such as the UNICEF. But that’s not the case here. UNICEF seems to have adopted a position that says “If the government says there are no children who died of starvation, then there are not children who died of starvation”. Yet, one BBC report states “The United Nations say two babies are dying of starvation every day in one area”. However, the government insists “No one has died or displaced due to lack of food in the areas affected by the drought”.
Without vital information such as mortality rates from independent sources, given the extent of Ethiopia’s previous famine disasters, previous and current governments’ denial and cover up on the extent of such disasters, and in spite of the “Ethiopia rising” meme, it’s hard to tell how bad the situation is. It might even be comparable with the 1984 famine.
Residents in the Afar Region of Ethiopia Talk about the Drought (VOA)
Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
Tags: Africa, Famine, Famine Ethiopia, Land Grabs, Tyranny and Famine, Why Famine is a Permanent Phenomenon in Ethiopian?
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. A report by the Oakland Institute (OI), a prominent international human rights organization, vividly describes how via “strongarm tactics reminiscent of apartheid South Africa, the Ethiopian regime has moved tens of thousands of people against their will to purpose-built communes that have inadequate food and lack health and education facilities to make way for large, foreign-owned commercial agricultural projects.” Notably, the program has also led to food insecurity, a destruction of livelihoods and the loss of cultural heritage of ethnic groups.
By Fikrejesus Amahazion, africabusiness.com
Food insecurity is one of the most pressing humanitarian issues in the Horn of Africa, and the situation is expected to deteriorate further over the coming months. Ethiopia, in particular, is faced with a massive crisis. According to the European Commission, “the situation in Ethiopia is at present the most alarming, where the number of food insecure people has increased from 2.9 million at the beginning of the year to 8.2 million by early October. It is foreseen that these numbers will further rise up to 15 million by the end of 2015. Rates of acute under-nutrition are well above emergency thresholds in many parts of the country, while the response to this situation is hampered by an important shortage of nutrition supplies. In the worst affected areas in the Northern, Central and Eastern regions of the country hundreds of thousands of livestock deaths are reported.” Moreover, UNICEF warns that a large number of those facing hunger will be children; approximately 5 million children will “require relief food assistance during the last quarter of 2015,” with hundreds of thousands urgently requiring treatment for acute severe malnutrition.
The crisis is largely being attributed to the El Niño weather phenomenon and the underperformance of two consecutive rainy seasons, which have combined to negatively affect the country’s agricultural harvest cycle. During the last two months, prolonged, erratic and insufficient rainfall has led to poor vegetation conditions in southern Ethiopia, and widespread drought, which has severely impacted ground conditions.
However, although environmental factors have been significant, it is important to examine the crisis within a broader framework. The roots of hunger are multidimensional and complex; beyond immediate environmental causes, hunger involves a variety of factors including, amongst others, socio-political and governance dynamics. According to scholar Tim Hitchcock, “famines aren’t about the lack of food in the world. They aren’t about the lack of aid. We know that the harvest is going to fail in Eastern Africa once every 12 to 15 years. If you have a working state and your harvest fails, you raise the cash and you buy food and ship it in, and you make sure it is distributed. You don’t allow people to starve.” In Ethiopia, “[hunger and] food insecurity stems from government failures in addressing major structural problems” (Siyoum, Hilhorst, and Van Uffelen 2012).
The European Union (EU) has provided over €1 billion in humanitarian aid to the Horn of Africa since 2011, much of which has gone to Ethiopia. Annually, Ethiopia receives hundreds of millions of dollars in aid from a variety of bilateral and multilateral sources; across the 2004-2013 period, the country was the world’s 4thlargest recipient of foreign assistance, receiving nearly US$6 billion, while in 2011 alone, its share of total global official development assistance – approximately 4 percent – placed it behind only Afghanistan. However, even while it has long-been one of the leading recipients of foreign, humanitarian, and food aid in the world, the country continues to face crises. Why? One influential factor is the debilitating mix of domestic corruption and poor governance. According to prominent development scholar and international economist Dambisa Moyo (2009), aid is often closely linked to corruption and poor governance, and “aid flows destined to help the average African…[get] used for anything, save the developmental purpose for which they were intended.” Moreover, “a constant stream of ‘free’ money is a perfect way to keep an inefficient or simply bad government in power.” In the 1980s, during widespread famine and drought, Ethiopia’s brutal Dergue regime, led by Colonel Mengistu Hailemariam, diverted millions in humanitarian aid to the military, while under the despotic rule of Meles Zenawi, aid was frequently utilized as a political tool of manipulation and repression. Several months ago, leaked emails revealed that the Ethiopian regime, which is now making appeals for aid and external support, was paying the Italian surveillance firm, Hacking Team, to illegally monitor journalists critical of the government.
Corruption and poor governance remain deeply embedded within Ethiopia’s socio-political structure, and the country consistently scores extremely poorly on the World Bank’s Worldwide Governance Indicators, especially within the areas of corruption, rule of law, and governance (Kaufmann, Kraay, and Mastruzzi 2010; World Bank 2014). The indicators, based upon a variety of perceptions-based data sources, provide measures for various states, with scores ranging from around –2.5 (low) to around 2.5 (high). Table 1 illustrates that corruption, rule of law, and governance are significant problems within Ethiopia.
Another area of considerable concern is democracy and civil liberties. Ethiopia has been consistently criticized by an array of international rights groups for its broad range of human rights abuses including its harsh repression of minorities and journalists, press censorship, draconian anti-terror laws that are utilized to silence all forms of dissent, and brutal crackdowns upon opposition groups and protestors.
According to the Polity IV Project (Marshall and Gurr 2013), which is widely used in international comparative analyses of democracy, governance, and human rights practices, Ethiopia is one of the most authoritarian, autocratic states in the world. The Polity IV Project codes the political characteristics of states, using an array of data sources, to rank states from –10, representing least democratic and most autocratic states, to 10, representing most democratic states. Table 2 displays that Ethiopia’s scores place it within the autocratic, authoritarian category. The applicability of this categorization is underscored by the fact that, mere months ago, the government in Addis Ababa won 100 percent of parliamentary seats in a widely discredited national election that involved massive irregularities and intimidation, crackdowns, and arrests of the opposition.
Importantly, scholars and analysts have pointed to the existence of an intricate relationship between democracy, civil liberty, and hunger or famine. According to internationally renowned development and human rights scholar Amartya Sen, “no democracy has ever suffered a great famine” (1999: 180-181). Specifically, Sen notes that throughout history famines have been avoided in democratic states because these states’ promotion of political and civil rights afford people the opportunity to draw forceful attention to their general needs and to demand appropriate public action through voting, criticizing, protesting, and the like. Authoritarian states, which curtail democracy and free press, sustain much less pressure to respond to the acute suffering of their people and can therefore continue with faulty policies. Sen’s discussion of many of the great famines within recent history – including those in Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, China, the former USSR, and North Korea – helps emphasize the fundamental relationship between democracy, civil liberties, and widespread famine and hunger (Sen 1999).
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. A report by the Oakland Institute (OI), a prominent international human rights organization, vividly describes how via “strongarm tactics reminiscent of apartheid South Africa, the Ethiopian regime has moved tens of thousands of people against their will to purpose-built communes that have inadequate food and lack health and education facilities to make way for large, foreign-owned commercial agricultural projects.”
Notably, the program has also led to food insecurity, a destruction of livelihoods and the loss of cultural heritage of ethnic groups.
Essentially, the Ethiopian regime’s participation in “land grabs” represents a dire lack of leadership, prioritization, and proper governance. It has caused terrible disruption to local communities and greatly harmed food security in the name of economic development. Such failure is reminiscent of previous humanitarian crises in the country. As described by Mosse (1993), during the 1960s and 1970s, the nomadic Afars of Ethiopia were displaced from their pasturelands in the Awash valley. The Awash River was controlled in the 1960s to provide irrigation for Dutch, Israeli, Italian, and British firms to grow sugar and cotton. Consequently, the annual flooding of the river, which covered the valley with rich soil and provided grazing lands for the Afars, was disrupted. The Afars went in search of new pastures and attempted to make a living on the ecologically fragile uplands, which were poorly suited to their nomadic lifestyle. Cattle found less to eat and the Afars began to starve. Subsequently, when drought struck Ethiopia’s Wollo region in 1972, between 25 and 30 percent of the Afars perished. The problem was not due to particular inadequacies of the Afars – who had flourished for centuries; rather, the problem was with the attempt to develop the Afar lands and bring them into the mainstream economy, without any regard for their actual needs. Ultimately, the pursuit of economic growth or development, if not sensitive or responsive to local needs, can so damage existing local populations and communities that substantial harm, poverty, deprivation, and hunger are created as a result (Mosse 1993).
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.
Posted by OromianEconomist in Famine in Ethiopia, Food Production.
Tags: Famine Ethiopia, Poverty and Famines: An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation, Tyranny and Famine
One of the most common misconceptions about the challenges in food security (the term used to describe getting people consistent access to the food they need), is that it exists due to a lack of food. That’s just not true. In fact, the world already produces more than one and a half times enough food to feed everyone on the planet. So what gives?
First, it’s important to understand that being food insecure isn’t just about lacking enough food to put on the table. It’s also about lacking access to diverse nutrient-dense foods like fresh produce. In this way, some people who are obese can actually be considered food insecure if the food they consume isn’t nutritious.
Here’s a rundown of the factors leading to food insecurity.
1) The most obvious is that people can’t afford nutritious food. While it’s up to governments to ensure that healthy, affordable food is available at all times, addressing the root causes of inequality will also go a long way towards empowering people to earn higher incomes.
2) Another barrier that stands in the way of food security is a lack of access. Around the world, people can find themselves in one of two dangerous situations: they live in areas so remote that there are limited options nearby, or they live in food deserts (urban neighborhoods or towns that lack ready access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food.) When the latter is true, families end up buying their food from convenience stores (think 7-11) and fast food chains- both which are filled with unhealthy, processed food.
3) Distribution can be just as much of a challenge when you consider all of the things that can go wrong between food leaving its point of production to its point of sale. In the developing world, many of the roads are poorly maintained and there are few high-quality railways to transport goods to a centralized market. Imagine a one-lane dirt road in the middle of a heavy rainstorm. If a truck is delayed and it lacks adequate temperature control, much of the food could go bad before arriving at its destination. That’s a problem for the farmer, and the consumer.
4) As the planet has grown warmer and prone to more extreme weather events, small-scale farmers are paying the price. Droughts and heavy rainfall affect crop yields, and poor farmers can’t bounce back the same way that large agribusiness can. This affects consumers as well, who end up paying more when food becomes scarce. To protect farmers and consumers, world leaders and governments need to work with local farmers to fix the existing systems that leave small-scale farmers vulnerable.
5) Conflict and political instability have the power to wreak havoc on already fragile systems by interrupting distribution and isolating people. Food aid can help, but it must be done the right way- with consideration of what the local people eat, and with the intention of minimizing dependence on foreign aid.
6) Lastly, too many small-scale farmers aren’t empowered to reach their full potential– especially women. In many countries, laws exist that prevent women from inheriting the land they’ve spent their entire lives working on when their fathers or husbands pass. Similarly, women are often prevented from purchasing land, and prevented from selling their food at the market. By empowering women, more families will have the opportunity to thrive, especially since women invest more of their income in their families than men.
Furthermore, men and women alike need access to education to learn the most effective ways to grow and sell food, and they need the resources to implement the strategies they’ve learned. Without these changes, small-scale farmers are missing out on a tremendous opportunity to not only lift their families out of poverty but also to provide their communities with delicious, healthy food.
While it might feel daunting to consider how many barriers stand in the way of food security, the silver lining is that it isn’t some mystery. Experts understand what needs to be done to feed the world’s people- it’s just a matter of building support and implementing proven strategies.
Ethiopia says it is managing crisis though UN says number in need has increased by more than 55 percent this year.
(Al Jazeera, 5th September 2015) – Around 4.5 million Ethiopians could be in need of food aid because of a drought in the country, the UN has said.
Hardest-hit areas are Ethiopia’s eastern Afar and southern Somali regions, while pastures and water resources are also unusually low in central and eastern Oromo region, and northern Tigray and Amhara districts.
Reacting to the UN’s claims that the number in need had increased by more than 55% this year, Alemayew Berhanu, spokesperson for Ministry of Agriculture, told Al Jazeera that Ethiopia had “enough surplus food at emergency depots and we’re distributing it”.
“When we were informed about the problem, the federal government and the regional state authorities started an outreach programme for the affected people,” he said.
In August, the Ethiopian government said that it had allocated $35m to deal with the crisis that has been blamed on El Niño, a warm ocean current that develops between Indonesia and Peru. The UN says it needs $230m by the end of the year to attend to the crisis.
“The absence of rains means that the crops don’t grow, the grass doesn’t grow and people can’t feed their animals,” David Del Conte, UNOCHA’S chief in Ethiopia, said.
One farmer in the town of Zway told Al Jazeera that he was selling personal belongings to stay alive.
“There is nothing we can do. We don’t have enough crops to provide for our families. We are having to sell our cattle to buy food but the cattle are sick because they don’t have enough to eat,” Balcha, who has a family of nine, and grows corn and wheat, said.
The onset of El Niño means the spatial distribution of rainfall from June to September has being very low. According to the UN children’s agency (Unicef), the El Niño weather pattern in 2015 is being seen as the strongest of the last 20 years.
Experts say it could be a major problem for the country’s economy, as agriculture generates about half of the country’s income.
Climate shocks are common in Ethiopia and often lead to poor or failed harvests which result in high levels of acute food insecurity.
Approximately 44% of children under 5 years of age in Ethiopia are severely chronically malnourished, or stunted, and nearly 28% are underweight, according to the CIA World Factbook.
Unicef says that about 264 515 children will require treatment for acute severe malnutrition in 2015 while 111 076 children were treated for severe acute malnutrition between January and May 2015