The European Commission has announced additional humanitarian assistance of €60 million to help people in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya, who have been facing critical levels of food insecurity due to severe drought. It’s not yours to give! 

This additional assistance brings EU humanitarian aid to the Horn of Africa region (including Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Djibouti) to nearly €260 million since the beginning of the year.

The situation in the Horn of Africa has drastically deteriorated in 2017 and it keeps getting worse. Millions of people are struggling to meet their and their families’ food needs. The risk of famine is real. The European Union has been following the situation closely since the very beginning and progressively increasing aid to the affected populations. This new package will help our humanitarian partners scale up the response further and keep bringing lifesaving assistance to people in need,” said Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides. It’s not yours to give! 

Foreign aid is a complete waste of money.   There are many counterproductive effects of aid. Most aid is stolen by kleptocrats. Aid can hinder the development of effective public institutions in recipient countries through reducing the need for a government to collect revenue from its citizens, thereby also making it less accountable to them. Aid can also prove detrimental to state development if it is captured by rebel groups, causing an increase in the incidence and length of intrastate armed conflict. Aid can also more directly strengthen the rule of autocratic governments and kleptocrats.

Aid can often distort incentives in poor countries in various harmful ways. Aid can also involve inflows of money to poor countries that have some similarities to inflows of money from natural resources that provoke the resource curse. Further, there is a dangerous combination of classic aid and military interventionism. For the past thirty years, the United States, the United Kingdom, the United Nations, and the World Bank have pushed for new aid imperialism.

The aid agencies must be specific in their goals, avoid giving aid to corrupt autocrats, choose effective channels of aid and minimize administrative costs. Under this set of goals, multilateral development banks are the most effective aid agencies, whereas United Nation’s agencies are the worst performing organisms 

It is the extraordinary distortion of global trade, where Occident spends $400 billion a year on protecting its agriculture with a network of subsidies and tariffs that costs developing countries about US$70 billion in potential lost agricultural exports. Seventy billion dollars is the equivalent of today’s level of development assistance.

Large levels of foreign aid can lead to negative macroeconomic consequences for local economies, especially affecting the real exchange rate and the competitiveness of the export sector, phenomenon known as Dutch Disease.

Foreign aid agencies such as World Bank, sometimes forge country profiles, which often bear little or no relation to the recipient countries’ economic and social reality. Development agencies prefer to use standardized development package and the creation of this falsified country profiles is to justify aid agencies’ use of such development package.

The Horn of Africa region has been affected by prolonged drought, particularly severely in south-eastern Ethiopia, northern Kenya and in Somalia where a pre-famine alert has been issued. Some 17 million people are in urgent need of food to survive, while the countries’ coping capacities are exhausted. In addition, all three countries are hit by a cholera outbreak, which has a severe impact on the most vulnerable.

The newly announced EU assistance will support humanitarian partners already responding to the needs of the affected populations to step up emergency food assistance and treatment of malnutrition. Projects addressing water supply, livestock protection and response to outbreaks will also be supported. The bulk of the funding (€40 million) will go to help the most vulnerable in Somalia, while €15 million will go to Ethiopia and €5 million to Kenya. It’s not yours to give! 

Millions of people in the Horn of Africa are affected by food insecurity and water shortages. Vegetation is sparse. Livestock deaths, high food prices and reduced incomes are being reported. As a result of the poor performance of the ongoing rainy season, the next harvests will be much reduced and the situation is expected to worsen in the coming months.

The drought comes on the heels of the erratic weather caused by the El Niño phenomenon in 2015-16. In Ethiopia, it prompted the biggest drought response operation in the country’s history.

The region also hosts 2.3 million refugees, notably from Yemen, South Sudan and Somalia account for the majority of refugees, and is struggling to meet their increasing needs.

The EU has allocated over €1 billion in humanitarian aid to its partners in the Horn of Africa since 2011. EU funding has helped provide food assistance, health and nutrition care, clean water, sanitation and shelter to those whose lives are threatened by drought and conflict. It’s not yours to give! 

However, aid for the drought-affected populations is complicated by the remoteness of certain areas, as well as by the ongoing violence in Somalia. All parties to the conflict are therefore urged to provide unimpeded access to people in need.


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