Announcing forecasts that ‘millions in the Horn of Africa region, but particularly in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia would face this year imminent hunger’, UN agencies are as ever soliciting the international community for emergency food aid. Thanks to the advances in the agricultural science, nations across the planet are nowadays striving to solve food scarcity. If there be any nation that suffers from food scarcity, recurrent drought and famine in the 21st century, it is merely the people of Africa. Reports indicate that one-third–around 1 billion–of African population lives in persistent food crisis. About 300 million still lack a single dish on daily basis. ‘Emergency Vehicles’ with long antennas mounted hit the gas in the pretext that such and such Africans are starving to death. Africa, which has reportedly been receiving every year food aids worth well over 4 billion USD for the past decades, has utterly failed to dispense with the relapses of need. Why?
In spite of lush soil and major rivers, as well as boundless natural resources, Ethiopia stands firsthand witness to the privation that exists in many parts of this continent. As a result of abysmal drought during the reign of Emperor Haile Selassie that caused the expiry of hundreds of thousands, as well as the famine that occurred during the Derg regime claiming the lives of more than 1 million people, Ethiopia sets the example for hunger in world dictionaries. The country has been conversant with aid handouts ever since. Government officials appear on state media daily affixing signatures on agreements of cooperation worth hundreds of millions. It is to be noted that Ethiopia has been granted development funds to the tune of 30 billion USD since 1980. Despite such huge contributions, the country has constantly been going downhill.
Once again, TPLF’s Ethiopia as yet constitutes one of the four countries across the globe that are granted the highest annual food handouts, and thus, ranks foremost on the list of aid-dependent nations in Africa. According to reports, in the years between 1999 and 2010, food aid approximating more than 700,000 metric tons per annum has been signed over to Ethiopia. Such tremendous almsgiving, however, has as yet failed to solve the country’s problems. The people of Ethiopia is always a prey to intermittent food scarcity. The cliché news of emergency calls on a yearly basis to ‘save the lives of millions of Ethiopians’ has been a broken record for the past four decades.
Despite tremendous relief, Ethiopia is to date graded the last of the entire world in indigence and human civilization. Dire privation, diseases and other social inequalities in the country are quite appalling. With its capital city and other major cities overwhelmed by mendicants and street smarts, Ethiopia is the center for mammoth aid and food handouts.Ethiopia is merely cited for being the worst example of human civilization; so is the case akin in many parts of Africa.
Based on these facts, there are simple questions people need to put forward. Why has the huge financial support and aid funneled the past half a century towards Africa barely managed to set the course for development? Why is the continent repeatedly plunged into poverty and backwardness? Is the role of charity to do away with problems or multiply them? Charity organizations are well aware of the fact that prime satiety for salting away the vast offerings is but corruption. Why are they then nurturing the ill-practice time and again? Is the objective of charity to mentor corruption? Rehabilitated over the past five decades in first-class buildings for administrative bureaus, what have these charity organizations operating to ‘put donations and development projects into effect’ made good? More than 1,000 NGOs are on record in Kenya. What tangible outcome has the contributions of all these NGOs effected thus far, and if not, what are they doing there? Are NGOs here to alleviate Africa’s problems or micromanage the continent’s crisis and thereby stay firmly established to eternity? If they are, indeed, charity organizations operating as per their tags, why not help upgrade human capacity and boost productivity through enabling support?
Boundless are the questions to pose. And the answer brings the real undertakings of NGOs and the underlying objectives to light. After a long experience of resorting to imbue the culture of dependency and corruption, the governments and peoples of Africa thus need to orient towards the right direction. To this end, Africa should revitalize the culture of hard work through becoming the master of its development programs so as to solve its own problems all on its own. In this respect, Eritrea’s modeled experience is a case in point for the entire continent. The Eritrean people, which wrested independence much later than other African countries, has so far achieved impressive accomplishments at reserving a rich store of agricultural yields through reinvigorating productivity in the spirit of self-reliance, while at the same time avoiding the culture of dependency. Accordingly, Eritrea has all own its own managed to maintain a hunger free situation devoid of the hustle and bustle of NGOs, thereby setting self-reliance as a proven standard for others.