The New York Times is up in arms about an African aid bill. It seems that NYT is blaming
three interests some critics call the Iron Triangle of food aid: agribusiness, the shipping industry and charitable organizations.Well, I can't say that I'm on the NYT's side in this one.
The bill would send money to organizations, who would then be able to buy needed supplies locally. According to promoters of this initiative,
Had the Agency for International Development had the authority to buy food in Ethiopia in the mid-1980's, when a million perished, or in 1999-2000 when 20,000 died, it could have saved many more lives, said its administrator, Andrew S. Natsios, who added, "Speed is everything in a famine response."Why, oh why, does this seem like a VERY bad idea to me? I seem to remember the last great African famine, when food rotted on the docks, since the available transport was used to carry on the war. I remember money being diverted from aid to guns.
Frankly, I am awfully concerned about letting the African governments get their hands on cash. They don't seem to be able to handle it without finding that a huge amount of it sticks to their fingers.