World Bank calls Horn of Africa famine manmade – By Axel Hildebrand

August 17th, 2011 Print Print Email Email

BERLIN(Reuters) – The famine in the Horn of Africa is manmade – the result of artificially high prices for food and civil conflict, the World Bank’s lead economist for Kenya Wolfgang Fengler told Reuters Tuesday.

“This crisis is manmade,” Fengler said in a telephone interview. “Droughts have occurred over and again, but you need bad policymaking for that to lead to a famine.”

Some 12.4 million people in the Horn of Africa – including Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti – are affected by the worst drought in decades, according to the United Nations. Tens of thousands of people have already died.

Fengler said the price of maize, or corn, was significantly higher in east Africa than in the rest of the world due to controls on local food markets.

“In Kenya, the price for corn is 60 to 70 percent above the world average at the moment,” he said. “A small number of farmers are controlling the market which is keeping prices artificially high.”

The World Bank said Monday its Food Price index increased 33 percent in July from a year ago and stayed close to 2008 peak levels, with large rises in the prices for maize and sugar.

High food and energy prices have stoked inflation pressures around the globe, but the problem has been more acute in developing nations.

“Maize is cheaper in the United States and in Germany than it is in eastern Africa,” said Fengler.

Somalia’s two-decade long war is also seen as exacerbating the famine in the Horn of Africa.

Some 3.7 million Somalis risk starvation in two regions of south Somalia controlled by militant group al Shabaab, which has blamed food aid for creating dependency and blocked humanitarian deliveries in the past.

The group has accused the United Nations of exaggerating the severity of the drought and politicizing the crisis.

  1. Sheger
    | #1

    What we need talk about know is the solution.

    Solution, one. Get a lot of coconut
    Two. A lot of sesemy and nuge I don’t know what you call it in English. This things could be so good you eat it and drink it like Juce.

    Third , get a lot of dirikosh. ( dried ejerra ) mix it with the sesemay and water put a bit of salt and vinegar that can be

    Life saving. I am not jockeying. I am tring to be useful wether I am or not. But it doesnt take a jeniuose after all.

    A lot of people through out enjera because they don’t keep it cool and it gets spoiled but that won’t happen if they dray some of it and that can help not just the starved if they give it but also the poor farmers. And food infiliation in the country. I will wright more if I come up with some thing more.

    That is it for now. Thanks. Hope this goes in to practice.

  2. Sheger
    | #2

    What we need to talk about now is the solution is what I meant to say.

    Sorry for my end less corrections.

  3. Sheger
    | #3

    One more thing, people needs to stop farming chat or Kat. Instead of westing the land the time the rain on some thing
    Narcotics they should farm food they can eat. Specially in the country that most of fertile land is leased to some body.

    Can we be smart for our selves? Do what ever we could to survive out of this dengeriuose times and rulers. All farmers
    Can talk to each other from region to regions and farm based on the demand and to servive and get out of misery.

    Besides they divided the unity of Ethiopia and that could be supper problematic. But may be not impossible if we all
    Stay Ethiopians at least some where in our hearts and care for each other. And no to the divider. And tell them we are liberated by blood history and culture we don’t need no librations bla….bla… We are Ethiopians most of all not Tigrays,
    Or Amaras or Oromos but Ethiopians. May be the problems is they are not. But we can grant them Ethiopiaweenet if that is what they want and if that is what is the problem.

    Request GRANTED!!!!!!!!! End of story. or should we call it Asayilem? What ever they want.

    Long live Ethiopia!!!!!!!!!

  4. Sheger
    | #4

    Wasn’t Meles born in Addis by the way. Should we say he is a shewaye, Yaddis Abeba lig, betigiray AYAGEBAWUM?

    Metinay………..

  5. Elijah
    | #5

    Blame the Commodity Exchange for creating this artificial inflation in Ethiopia. Commodity exchanges were founded as a way to stifle deflationary pressures on agricultural produce in the West. Farmers needed some sort of relative guarantee that they wont go broke. In Ethiopia, the problem is the reverse. There is always acute shortage of staples. There is no stock exchange in the Nation. History tells us where money is not pooled, there wont be much advancement. As much as the Regime is afraid of establishing such a mechanism of pooling resources from all corners, it has allowed an exchange which will only worsen the upward movement in the price of major commodities.

    The Ethiopian govt has done a lot in decentralizing power and giving the average Gebre a ‘ say’ while depriving him the opportunity to choose where he lives or whether he stays farming a tiny plot of land or selling it and moving to the cities. Lagos,Nigeria has a population of 18 million, Cairo like wise. Ethiopia, the second most populous nation has only one metropolis ( Addis with about 5 million people..) No other city in Ethiopia has reached the million mark, to the best of my knowledge. This will stifle growth and create massive impoverished rural dwellers . According the the US Census bureau, Ethiopia will be the most populous Nation in the World in 100 years. ( my guess is there will be a billion plus habeshas) If the flawed agricultural policy which is tying the farmers’ hands and feet to tiny plots of parches parcels isn’t reversed, we will have hundreds of millions of starving Ethiopians by then. So, without a fundamental change of the unprecedented land policy , i will agree with the World Bank, it is a man made disaster and will be a calamity soon….

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