On Monday, the UN’s World Food Program launched its “Africa Hunger Alert” campaign to draw attention to and raise funds for 38 million people facing starvation in Africa.
Analysis: Famine in Africa is one of several humanitarian crises for which the UN created the UN Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for Humanitarian Assistance, known as “CAP,” in 1994. CAP groups the fund-raising programs of the World Food Program, the World Health Organization, the High Commissioner for Refugees, plus 18 other humanitarian and human rights agencies and NGOs to promote the efficient use of donor funds.
The 2003 CAP appeals for over $2.34 billion toward 12 African countries and 2 African regional programs: the “Southern Africa” project encompassing Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe, and the “Great Lakes” project addressing humanitarian needs in Rwanda, Congo and Tanzania.
Is it enough? Hard to say. Are the Africans getting a fair share? Compared to the UN’s support for the Palestinians, clearly not.
||2003 CAP (1)
$, in millions
(1) in thousands
|CAP $ per Beneficiary||GDP (2) $, million||UN Subsidy CAP/GDP
Sources: (1) 2003 UN Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for Humanitarian Assistance, (2) CIA World Fact Book
The 2003 CAP asks for nearly nine times as much aid per Palestinian as for each Ethiopian threatened by famine. The “UN Subsidy” column expresses the amount of UN aid as a percentage of the country’s economy. By this measure, the UN provides over 12 times more in subsidies to the Palestinian economy than to the combined economies of the six Southern African countries.
Africans and Palestinians both require substantial humanitarian assistance. But humanitarian principles also require equity, objectivity and the absence of political considerations. The UN ought to take another look at Africa’s needs.