Celeste Hicks writes – in a message that needs to be reiterated ceaselessly – that the hunger crisis in the Sahel is a long-term, not a short-term, problem:
Across the region, above average rainfall has been recorded in 2012. Predictions for southern Mali by Fewsnet, the US early warning system, suggest at least 93% of the millet crop will be successful. Although there have been pockets of drought, and the rains may be in danger of petering out before October in some regions, anecdotal evidence suggests prices in local markets are starting to ease.
But good news on the rains risks signalling that everything is back to normal. Oxfam is trying to stop donor and media attention turning elsewhere, saying: “The food crisis is far from over and an increase in aid is still needed to help farmers and herders overcome the triple challenges of recurrent droughts, persistent poverty and political instability.”
The Sahel crisis is about much more than rain, or lack of it. Yes, in the years when the rains fail more people are pushed into hunger, but the NGO message is that this is something that will take years to fix.
All over the North, the inbred respect for ward and district heads, as well as emirs, is fast diminishing and, consequently, the authority and the myths behind the traditional institutions they head. For those who feared the institutions, a new boldness is in place; for those who had high regards for them, a subtle disdain has emerged and for members of the ruling clans, the rewards of being part of the royal classes are fast ebbing.
This is not to say that the North’s emirs have lost their powers: they remain largely powerful and able to influence economic and social policy. But events of the last few years have eaten away the basis of their legitimacy.
Louisa Lombard on the killing of people and elephants in Africa:
At least 25,000 elephants may have been slaughtered in Africa in 2011 — more than in any year since reporting began in 2002 — according to Kenneth Burnham, the statistician for Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants, an intergovernmental research agency.
Hundreds of humans have also died as a result of the elephant slaughter — not just from scattered maulings or tramplings, but from bullets fired by other humans fighting on the animals’ behalf.
The State Department’s Dipnote reports on an event on food security headlined by Secretary Hillary Clinton and Malawi’s President Joyce Banda.
Lesley Anne Warner on reactions in South Sudan and Kenya to the US presidential campaign.
Roving Bandit asks some interesting questions about policy research priorities in South Sudan.
Owen Barder: “Three Lessons from Britain’s Multilateral Aid Review.”
A call for papers for a conference on “India in Africa.”