Geoffrey Onyeama, Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Norway’s Special Representative Merete Lundemo at the Oslo Humanitarian Conference on Nigeria and the Lake Chad Region on February 24. Photo/Ken Opprann/MFA/Flickr).

Donors Not Writing Big Aid Cheques For Africa. There Will Be A Lot Of Pain – And That Could Be A Good Thing

REALITY time. The aid cheques are drying up!

There is a humanitarian crisis affecting 21 million in the Lake Chad region – Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Niger.

The international community sought to take action at the Oslo humanitarian conference last month, but the outcome suggested that for countries in Africa hit by famine and displacement from conflict, there are increasingly few saviours out there.

Donors pledged $672 million in new money spread over three years, against an appeal target of $1.5 billion for 2017. Neither the US or British governments made even a show of opening their wallets in Oslo.

The new Donald Trump government in the US is to propose “dramatic reductions” in aid, so for at least four years American purse strings will not be loosened.

The 2016 appeal for the Lake Chad crisis was for a good deal less, $739 million, and wound up being only 53% funded.

Not everyone thinks that the aid drought is a disaster, especially in the long-term.

Without aid, some argue that African governments will be forced to respond differently – for example, be more willing to talk to adversaries to make peace.

In some African countries, corrupt politicians and officials steal money collected in national taxes, while essential health, education, and other services are paid for by donors.

Without the donors essentially subsiding graft by withdrawing aid, life will get very difficult for citizens – and they could revolt and demand an end to corruption and waste.

It could result in more repression, and increased poverty, but where there are improvements and greater accountability, it would be a welcome advancement in democracy.

In all, though, the situation in crisis areas will first worse, before it becomes better.

-Addition reporting IRIN

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