Eli5 Why is there still a famine in Africa despite the fact that they have been receiving foreign aid for decades?


Eli5 Why is there still a famine in Africa despite the fact that they have been receiving foreign aid for decades?

In: 5

It’s human-made famine, often as a form of war or a byproduct of war.

Also, much of that aid has been syphoned off by dictators and corrupt officials, which in turn makes charitable organizations hesitate to give.

That said, the dictators and corrupt officials are only following the example of non-African corporations, who for more than a century have exploited Africa for its natural resource, and before that exploited Africa for its human slaves.

You are talking of Africa as one large entity. Instead it is a huge diverse continent with lots of countries facing different challenges. You have various different natural and social disasters happening at different places on the continent at different times. You have the same thing in for example the US where there are various different aid programs happening all the time, both by FEMA and even foreign aid programs. You have Canadian firefighters working in California fighting forest fires one month and the next month there are Canadian linemen working in Florida cleaning up after a hurricane. A similar thing is going on in Africa where you have drought in a part of one country one year and then the next year IS is trying to take over another country by force.

Because receiving foreign aid doesn’t solve the problem of outside countries setting up shop there, buying land and workers for very cheap and having them use space that would normally be used to farm food or create their own exports to better other countries instead of themselves .

Imagine being a farmer that makes food for your whole town. Then, imagine an abusive partner forcing you to quit your job and use your own house, land, and money to cook, clean, and build a shoelace factory for your abuser and their friends 24/7. At the end of the day, there’s no time or resources left over for yourself, your town no longer gets food, but your govt and abuser are living fat on shoelace money and you get to help yourself to their scraps.


Unremittent aid kills the entrepreneurial engine by enabling big government and undercutting prices.

>With aid’s help, corruption fosters corruption, nations quickly descend into a vicious cycle of aid. Foreign aid props up corrupt governments – providing them with freely usable cash. These corrupt governments interfere with the rule of law, the establishment of transparent civil institutions and the protection of civil liberties, making both domestic and foreign investment in poor countries unattractive. Greater opacity and fewer investments reduce economic growth, which leads to fewer job opportunities and increasing poverty levels. In response to growing poverty, donors give more aid, which continues the downward spiral of poverty.
>This is the vicious cycle of aid. The cycle that chokes off desperately needed investment, instils a culture of dependency, and facilitates rampant and systematic corruption, all with deleterious consequences for growth. The cycle that, in fact, perpetuates underdevelopment, and guarantees economic failure in the poorest aid-dependent countries.

—Dambisa Moyo, Dead Aid