Charity demands more effective aid for africa's poorest
More effective aid for Africa's poorest
Press release, 15 March 2007
Millions of African farmers and livestock keepers who make up the majority of the continent's poor are being bypassed by international aid, according to international development charity, Practical Action.
The charity has launched a new website - African Voices in Europe - to expose the failures of European aid and set out a new agenda for Improving aid for Africa's poorest communities.
Stuart Coupe, Practical Action's African Voices Manager, said:† "African Voices in Europe is a call for an urgent new agenda for getting European aid to where it is needed most."
The new website highlights the plight of small-scale farmers and livestock keepers in remote and deprived areas of Africa who are struggling to cope with worsening drought, HIV/AIDS pandemic and conflicts.
It brings African Voices to life through videos, photo stories and diaries and calls for assistance to basic resources such as irrigation bore holes and seeds and features the findings of in-depth EC aid research.
Mr Coupe added: "International donors such as the European Commission should target these areas with aid, but instead are focussing on supporting large-scale commercial farming to grow export crops. "Aid which specifically targets support to agriculture and alternative livelihoods in resource poor areas, in a manner similar to the European Union's Less Favoured Areas scheme, could ensure EC aid achieves meaningful poverty reduction and prevents the poorest communities from falling into another emergency."
Linda McAvan MEP, who visited a remote region of Western Kenya with Practical Action last year, said: "Donor aid is either focused on developing commercial agriculture or attending food emergencies, leaving a vast gap in assistance to subsistence farmers and pastoralists, especially in remote and deprived districts."
European aid to Africa is no exception according to in-depth research by Practical Action.† There is little clear evidence of poverty reduction for African small-scale farmers from the 9th European Development Fund of €13.5 billion.
The budget for the 10th European Development Fund (2008 - 2013) has increased to €22bn. But unless EC aid programming is reformed, this money will fail to reach the continent's neediest people, and sometimes even be returned unspent.
"If the European Commission is serious about reducing poverty in Africa, it must target 'less favoured areas' of the continent and reach those poorest communities," added Stuart Coupe.
Decreasing dependence on food aid is another priority for farmers talking on the website. Fremont Mangube, a farmer from Zambia, says: "Without food aid my family may not survive, but I need more than just food to get back on to my feet. I need seeds and fertilisers which will enable me to grow crops next year so that I can support my family."
The project has brought African MPs together with European MPs to lobby for effective strategies to ensure development assistance reaches less favoured areas throughout Africa.
- 'Less Favoured Areas' is a European Union term, used to identify areas where the physical landscape and conditions heavily restrict agricultural productivity. Often LFAs are more remote areas disadvantaged further by a lack of support for infrastructure and services, and where private investment is also unlikely.
By bringing the voices and views of African farmers into Europe, the African Voices project aims to raise awareness of the need to improve the quality and quantity of European aid to deprived rural areas in African countries.
African Voices website can be accessed at: http://www.africanvoices.org.uk
For more information, please contact: Jane Eason, Practical Action Media Officer;† Tel:† 01926 634510; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org