More 'In-House Solutions' for Africa's Woes

On the heels of the latest European Union offer of food aid for sub-Saharan Africa to get through the food crisis, a resounding "not so fast" came from recent Nobel laureate Wangari Maathi.

Ms. Maathi's contributions to Kenyan environmentalism have been significant with her Green Belt Movement planting over 40 million tress across the country--a feat for which she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.

She said Africans needed to articulate their own development models and disabuse themselves of asking for aid handouts from external governmental or non-governmental donors. Maathi's work, which relies on grants, has brought tree-planting jobs and effective solutions to soil loss and degradation from erosion in the agricultural sector.

Resource dilemmas in Africa are of course not part of closed-loop cycles. Less talked about is the impact resource constraints are having on civil conflicts in Africa. A growing number of analysts say natural resources are at the heart of conflicts like the one in Darfur and peacemaking should only be undertaken if items like water are part of mediations.

For more talk on alternative, homegrown aid models, read comments from Zambian public policy expert Dambisa Moyo in the Time's Magazine or listen to Maathi's enlightening interview with Treehugger.

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