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Food aid is killing us

This is the unsettling story of Ethiopia since Live Aid first brought the plight of Africa’s third most populous country to international attention 25 years ago

Famine and Foreigners: Ethiopia since Live Aid by Peter Gill (OUP, £14.99)

Last year I met a woman and her disabled son who lived in a hut on the edge of one of Ethiopia’s frontier towns. Ethiopia’s ambitious, donor-funded “safety net” programme—which aims to boost food supplies and allow poor people to “graduate out of poverty”—asks able recipients to work in exchange for assistance. The woman told me how her food aid, for which she worked on a road built with spades and axes, made her weak. She was not talking of its nutritional value, nor the shame of it,…

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