Africa bank: Somalia war key to famine

2011-08-02 08:37

Washington - The head of the African Development Bank, Donald Kaberuka, on Monday blamed the famine in Africa's Horn of Africa region on climate change and "our collective failure to end the Somali civil war".

"While this is a tragedy triggered by the worst drought in 60 years, it is largely about our collective failure to end the Somali civil war," Kaberuka said.

Much of Somalia has been wracked by lawlessness and violence since longtime leader Mohammed Siad Barre was ousted in a coup in late 1991.

"Before food shortages become famine, there's something else that comes into play," Donald Kaberuka told AFP in an interview.

"In this case, the epicentre of the crisis is in those parts of Somalia that are not functioning," he said.

The two regions in southern Somalia where the UN last month declared a famine are controlled by rebel groups, including the al-Qaeda-linked Shabaab.

Shabaab is "playing with lives" by barring foreign aid from reaching starving people in drought-hit Somalia, Kaberuka said.

Long-term plan

A famine declared last month in two southern Somali regions controlled by the Shabaab rebel movement has grown to huge proportions and now threatens millions in the Horn of Africa movement with starvation and malnutrition, Kaberuka said.

Ten million people in the Horn of Africa are now in need of food aid, two million children are malnourished and half a million people are in danger of starvation, he added.

"The urgent thing now is to save lives, but we also need to work on a long-term plan with the regional authorities to try to address the fundamental problem which basically is to create resilience and sustainable livelihoods among the livestock keepers in the region," Kaberuka told AFP.

By developing water systems, storage facilities, and a functioning infrastructure in Somalia, "our sentiment is that droughts can come, but without becoming famine", he said.

He noted that when countries with developed infrastructures, such as Britain and the United States, are hit by water shortages or even a drought, there is not mass famine.

Kaberuka also urged the international community to "get in and help" the parts of Somalia that are peaceful and have rule of law, namely Somaliland and Puntland in the north of the country, and called for more logistical aid for the African Union force, Amisom, which is trying to stabilise Somalia.

Logistics support

"Amisom is under-manned, under-equipped, does not have enough logistical support. If it did, it could easily have brought stability to that part of Somalia to allow Somalis to begin to talk about the kind of government they want," Kaberuka, a former finance minister of Rwanda, told AFP.

"No one is saying they should put in soldiers from abroad - Africans are capable of doing that - but they need logistics support," Kaberuka said, citing things like food rations, transportation and helicopters.

An intervention in Somalia by foreign troops, including the United States, under a UN mandate in 1993, ended disastrously, with two dozen Pakistani UN soldiers and 18 Americans being killed by Somali insurgents in fierce fighting.

The United States pulled out of the UN force after the bodies of some of the slain US soldiers were dragged through the streets of Mogadishu by cheering Somalis.

Kaberuka, who was re-elected in 2010 to a second term as the head of the African Development Bank, is in the United States to attend meetings on international development.

  • duncan - 2011-08-02 08:51

    And nonstop bonking !!!!!!

  • letsee - 2011-08-02 09:20

    The real blame is on Africa’s inability to visualize and plan ahead and rather wait for help from western countries.

  • Badballie - 2011-08-02 09:41

    Africans are the reason for the famine in Africa, The western world has spent the last 100 years bailing one African country or another out and will in most probability spend the next hundred doing the same thing. Africa for all its hate and disrespect for Colonists and whites wouldn't make it 2 years without the wests aid and assistance.

      Kunta-Kinte - 2011-08-02 09:45

      And the west would make it without Africa?

      Kunta-Kinte - 2011-08-02 09:52

      The fact is that post-colonial states, particularly in Africa, have not been helped to be autonomous by the so called liberal democracies. Yes I know there is the glib hand outs here and there but what about the exploitative business dealings and promotion of corruption? The 'west' has never cared one jot about Africa, except how to profit from the corruption it has installed.

      slg - 2011-08-03 00:08

      When the so-called West and liberal democracies do help, you blame them for that too Kunta.

      slg - 2011-08-03 00:18

      Kunta, regrettably the world would "make it" without Africa. Africa is hardly on the radar. It struggles to garner even a small percentage of foreign direct investment each year.

      slg - 2011-08-03 00:19

      Do you believe Somali's should also be denied the right to vote, like Libyans, and the extent of their enfranchisement should be their tribal councils?

  • birdman - 2011-08-02 11:07

    @ Kunta Kinte. You are a typical black person who blames everything on white colonialism/slavery/apartheid and anything else that you can think of. The blacks in America (African Americans) still blame slavery for all their ills that they "suffer" today! Just like in Africa, the Black African will continue to blame white opression ad infinitum. But what did the "white settlers" do? - they built a country! The problem is however that most black people do not get the notion that you reap what you sow. Hard work and genuine, corruption free entrepreneurship is a foreign concept. This is why it's every black man for himself - no matter how he does it! If every white person were to miraculously evaporate, South Africa would not last even 6 months before tribalism, cronyism and greed tore the country apart! Somalia is a perfect example of where after the whites left, the country fell into ruin. Please prove me wrong - I dare you!! BTW, the West can get along fine without Africa! We just think that they can't.

      Daemos1 - 2011-08-02 13:27

      If the West could get along fine without Africa, they would have done it ages ago, get your head out of your orifice

      Kunta-Kinte - 2011-08-02 13:48

      Has Europe gotten rid of its tribalism. When European seperatist (Kosovo,French Belgium, Irish, Catalans, etc) fight for independence, they are nationalist and when Africans do the same thing they are tribalist. Why was Yugoslavia broken up? You are hopelessly clueless.

      Anton - 2011-08-02 14:05

      Kunta-Kinte For a radical like you ,EVERYONE is clueless Its YOUR word, and that is than final. You should have been born in Libya, so you could have put all your hatred to good use !!!!!!

      OZNOB - 2011-08-02 23:17

      @ KUNTE personnally your comments are clueless and ineffectual the fact that you plaguerised the name from a book as well as some of your comments from magazines/books shows a lammentable lack of original thought. back to the point the west would probably do alot better if they did not have to bail out some african country which in all intents and purposes will either default on the loans or sink into civil war with ethnic cleansing thrown in to boot .

      slg - 2011-08-03 00:23

      Daemos, unfortunately it's true. The developed world and even the developing world can do without Africa. The continent does not do well at all when it comes to attracting foreign investment, largely because of radicalism and corruption.

  • Daemos1 - 2011-08-02 13:26

    really African Development Bank? really? thank you captain obvious

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