Aid Debate: Swimming Upstream

Published on 12th July 2005

Image of Poverty Eclipses Country\'s Wealth Potential

For decades, Sudan was known as a country wrecked by wars, famine and abject poverty. With the Nile and its tributaries, Sudan has immense fish potential. Sudan has some the most fertile agricultural lands anywhere in the world, especially in the South and if well developed has the potential to be the breadbasket of Africa. Indeed, Sudan is the largest producer of Gum Arabic in the world, an ingredient that is a must in beverage making. It also has one of the largest cotton and sugar industries in Africa. Its unexploited mineral wealth includes gold, iron ore, aluminium and copper not to mention exotic timber. Sudan, despite the war, has Africa\'s second largest grazing animal herd. But perhaps, the most significant natural resource that Sudan has is oil. It is currently producing more than 350,000 barrels of crude oil per day, and is expected to hit 500,000 barrels in 2006 and the one million barrels mark by 2008. With peace now thrown in, Sudan has an immense trade, business and investment potential that could have countries in the region green with envy.

No Need for Aid Says Zimbabwean Govt

Zimbabwe-Despite an estimated 4.5 million Zimbabweans needing food aid this year, the government insists there is no need to launch an official appeal for international assistance. \"No state of disaster will be declared, and there are no plans to appeal for food aid,\" Leonard Turugari of the ministry of public service, labor and social welfare, told delegates at a regional food security meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Friday. Turugari said his government had the capacity to import 1.2 million mt of maize, the staple grain, in the coming months, to make up for a shortfall in national output. He attributed the downturn in production to lingering drought conditions and economic difficulties. Although there were no plans on the table to ask the international community to step in and kick-start a general food distribution programme, Turugari said the \"door was not closed to donors\". NGOs could continue giving assistance to the vulnerable, provided they worked \"within their mandates\".

Small Farmers, key in Alleviating Poverty

Small farmers can be a driving force in cutting hunger and poverty Worldwide according to the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) during the \'Future of Small Farms research workshop. Seventy percent of the world\'s poor live in rural areas and the vast majority of these depend on agriculture as their main income source. \"Investment in small farm agriculture can help to raise them out of poverty and catalyze wider economic growth.\" The workshop was convened to consider the prospects for small farmers in developing countries and the numerous challenges they currently face. These challenges according to IFPRI include globalization, low world market prices for major agricultural commodities and the expected negative impact of climate change. According to Dr. Peter Hazell, Director of the Development Strategy and Governance Division of IFPRI, the difficulties facing small farmers and those who would assist them are not good reasons for giving up on the task, as some have suggested. He said the possibilities of creating sufficient alternative livelihoods in the non-farm sector within the next decade or two remain bleak in most poor countries especially in Africa. According to him, major public investments in rural infrastructure, agricultural research and support services are needed to unleash the inherent power of small farmers.\" In many African countries, however, delivery of such investment is constrained by the capacity and quality of state institutions through which the investment would be channeled,” he said.

Aid debate: Swimming Upstream

In an interview with Spiegel, Mr. Shikwati Director IREN Kenya, said that the developing countries that had collected the most development aid were the ones in the worst shape. Huge bureaucracies are financed, corruption and complacency are promoted, and Africans are taught to be beggars and not to be independent. With the proposed download of billions of dollars to poor countries, Mr. Shikwati predicts tougher barriers against poor nations in the guise, environmental and psycho sanitary standards. Africa is going to sink deeper in dependency.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/0,1518,363663,00.html

 


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