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“Why Africa is still starving?”

Why do we get aid so wrong? Because it feels so right.

“The American people,” says U.S. ambassador to Ethiopia Donald Yamamoto, “are simply not going to sit tight while they see children dying.” Nor should they: a starving man needs to be saved first, before he can be taught to fish — or farm. But as the world rallies again to Ethiopia’s aid, donors face a dilemma. “We’re not getting to the real problem,” says Yamamoto.

Taken from Time MagazineAugust 2008

Please take the time and respond with what you feel is the answer to this question – Why is Africa still starving?

Thanks.

Jeff G

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. October 8, 2008 at 7:43 AM

    Jeff

    I’ve put off answering because I have been busy, but here’s an inexpert attempt.

    I would have thought the answer was complex, with many contributing causes. I think this is sort of the picture …..

    Africa was quite a normal subsistence economy until European colonial powers started interfering. The established tribes were broken up and recombined into countries, the subsistence economy was turned into an exploitive agriculture economy for the benefit of the whites, and their whole way of life wrecked. Then, suddenly, in the 1960s, the whites felt guilty and quickly gave independence, plus weapons. Dictatorships and corruption followed, and we haven’t moved far from that. No-one, having experienced the joys of coca cola, guns, TV and rock-n-roll wants to go back to the safe subsistence lifestyle, but the current economies are ripped off by corruption, expensive arms purchases, unequal world trade and massive debt, so they cannot easily kick start. The massive uncertainty and some western medicine has raised the birth rate so it is hard for families to get ahead, and AIDS has been crippling. Foreign aid is simply bandage.

    To stop the starvation requires better government, a world economic system that gives them a chance, and some social stability.

    Into this situation, christians can make a difference. They can bring hope, education, plus ethics and unselfishness if people follow Jesus. Christians can kick start small businesses, share skills and give people a chance though well directed aid.

    So that’s my off the cuff answer. The problem is systemic, and only systemic change will make a lasting difference. But in the meantime we can help individuals.

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