Meles warns of relief agencies’ hidden agenda - Daily Nation

Meles warns of relief agencies’ hidden agenda

Sunday October 11 2009

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi attends a special AU Summit held in Tripoli, capital of Libya, Aug. 31, 2009. XINHUA

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi attends a special AU Summit held in Tripoli, capital of Libya, Aug. 31, 2009. XINHUA 

By ARGAW ASHINE, NATION Correspondent

ADDIS ABABA, Sunday

Ethiopian Prime minister Meles Zenawi has accused food aid agencies of lacking genuine interest to end hunger and poverty in Ethiopia.
The country’s 6.2 million people are reported to be in need of food aid.

During an extraordinary parliament session over the weekend, Mr Meles told Ethiopian MPs to be wary of food aid agencies with hidden business interests.

He termed the agencies “food aid industry”, which benefits from their intermediary role between the hungry people and the donors in rich nations.

Some agencies, charged Mr Meles, were reporting exaggerated numbers of affected people for the sake of their ideological, economic and political interests.

The PM described the aid agencies as “lords of poverty”, naming some key players, including food supply firms, retailers, transporters and distributor agencies.

“We have never been given more than 60 per cent of aid we required for the last 18 years of our administration,” Mr Meles said.

A week ago, international charity organisation Oxfam and the UN humanitarian office issued an appeal for 6.2 million Ethiopians in need of emergency humanitarian assistance due to severe drought.

“Some 6.2 million Ethiopians hit by two-year recurrent drought are facing starvation and need emergency assistance,” Mr Abera Tola, the head of Oxfam America in East Africa, told reporters.