Aid Watch has a piece on this very important subject, check it out.
For many years experts have pointed out the negative impact of international food aid. The practice of tying food aid to farm subsidies to western farmers resulted in unfair competition that drove many an African farmer out of business.
The EU intends to change this. New policy will now require the purchase of food aid in or near the needy countries.
Speaking of agriculture, we are yet to see any tangible results from Kofi Annan’s Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa. Mr. Annan seems to have been sidetracked by his peacekeeping duties as a Continental elder statesman. Perhaps the Alliance could get a less sought after individual – like Prof. Wangari Maathai, for instance – in order to increase its stature in public and highlight its importance in the quest for development on the Continent.
Southern Sudan continues to be an extremely dangerous place as it prepares for elections in April. “Ethnic clashes” have so far killed at least 2500 this year alone. The SPLM has nominated Yasir Arman, a northerner, as its presidential candidate in their attempt to dislodge the genocidal al-Bashir from power. The fact that President Kir of Southern Sudan is not running at the national level is a clear signal that the South has its eyes on secession come 2011. President al-Bashir is likely to win the presidential election in April. What matters the most is whether he will let the Southerners go if they so choose in the 2011 referendum.
In the meantime, one of the things that should be done ASAP is to professionalize the Southern Sudanese army and mop up the excess weapons floating around. There are 2.7 million small arms in circulation in Sudan. Quite the definition of a tinderbox if you ask me.
It is no secret that the war in eastern Congo is a resource war. Indeed most wars the world over have economic dimensions to them. Even rag tag Somalia must have people who are accruing economic benefits from the war. The pirates are certainly among this group. Global Witness, the British watchdog, has a report out on this subject that can be found on the IRIN website. The report puts on paper some of the truths that the international community has been conveniently ignoring in their quest to stop civil conflicts in the various hot spots across the globe.
I could not miss the irony. African leaders will be gathered in Kampala, Uganda (19th – 23rd Oct.) to come up with a mechanism to protect the more than 11 million internally displaced people (IDPs) on the Continent. IRIN touts this as a landmark move. But I beg to ask the question: Is anyone asking these leaders what is causing this internal displacement in the first place? Couldn’t we all be better off if the kleptocrats who run the Continent were not into stealing elections, emptying their national treasuries, marginalizing segments of their populations and in extreme cases committing acts of genocide? Wouldn’t it be cheaper to not have IDPs in the first place?