March 19th, 2017


It's not just about climate

One thing sticks out now when the subsidiary organisations to the UN are now asking for urgent humanitarian aid to Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan and Uganda. These are exactly the countries whose corrupt cynical politicians have almost nothing in common with democracy. They routinely violate human rights and start ethnic and religious conflicts. As for Somalia, it has stopped being a real country a long time ago. That country is consistently ranked at the very bottom in the corruption index. South Sudan, while drowning in oil, has millions of refugees as its main export, in the wake of the bloodbath that is the ethnic conflict there. And the previously promising new player Eritrea has become the African version of North Korea: encapsulated, sealed, shut down to the rest of the world, and ruled by a clique that amasses wealth from drug, arms and human trafficking.

But no other country underlines the connection between bad governance and hunger as much as Ethiopia. This strategically important country in the Horn of Africa is the motherland of coffee. The Blue Nile and the two rainy seasons are a perfect condition for having record agricultural output, and the country has Africa's second largest labour force. But instead of prosperity, Ethiopia has suffered famine crises since the 70s, and refugee floods, and massacred protesters, and opposition activists spending a lifetime behind bars. When nearly 85 people live off rural, agricultural lifestyle, and the authoritarian government bans land ownership and gives out seeds for the crops only to trusted party members, this is a sure recipe for a vicious cycle of hunger and poverty. But this obviously isn't discouraging a number of Western governments from pouring loads of cash onto countries like Ethiopia, with no strings attached.

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