New Internationalist

The Facts

Issue 238

new internationalist
issue 238 - December 1992

THE HORN OF AFRICA - THE FACTS

The modern plague of militarism lies at the
root of human tragedy for the Horn and its people.
The NI considers the causes and counts the costs.

[image, unknown] THE VICTIMS

DEATHS1
. Between 1982 and 1992 two million people died in the Horn of Africa due to a combination of war and famine.
. Since 1983 the combined effect of war and famine has killed more than a million Sudanese.
. Over 100,000 Ethiopians died as a result of their forced resettlement by their own government in 1983.
. During Eritrea's 30-year war of independence 100,000 Ethiopian soldiers were killed and 50,000 Eritrean combatants lost their lives.

AT RISK
. By the end of 1991 around 4.5 million people in Somalia were at serious risk from famine.2
. There are 25,000 street children living rough in the Sudanese capital Khartoum.3
. By 1992 some 23 million people in the region as a whole were endangered by food shortages.4

ON THE RUN5
. Ethiopia has some 375,000 refugees from Sudan, mostly recent, plus an equivalent number from Somalia.
. There are still 750,000 Ethiopian refugees in Sudan though another 340,000 have returned to Ethiopia since the overthrow of the Mengistu dictatorship.
. There are over 100,000 Somalian and Ethiopian refugees in tiny Djibouti.
. Somalia has nearly 2 million internally displaced people.

[image, unknown] THE CAUSES
The governments of the Horn have been spending lavishly on weapons yet many of their peoples' basic needs remain unmet.

[image, unknown]

. In Somalia social spending was cut by 75% between 1974 and 1988. Between 1977 and 1986 arms imports accounted for more than 49% of all imports.8

[image, unknown] THE POLITICS
Both superpowers have used the people of the Horn as pawns on the chessboard of Cold War politics over the last two decades. US aid to Horn dictators as a percentage of overall aid to their countries.8

. In the 1980s the Ethiopian Government received one billion dollars a year in military aid from the Soviet Union. Over 50% of the revenues received by the Ethiopian Government in the Mengistu years went to the military.9

. In the decade from 1979 to 1989 the US provided Somalia with over half a billion dollars worth of arms.10

[image, unknown] THE ECONOMY

POVERTY
The people of the Horn number some 50 million and are among the poorest in the world.

[image, unknown]

ECONOMIC INDICATORS
Horn economies are doing badly, even by African standards. Ethiopia's total income per capita is third lowest in the world.'3

[image, unknown]

CASH CROPS14
Horn economies depend on one or two key exports.

Sudan - Cotton 50% of total exports.
Ethiopia - Coffee 80% of foreign exports.
Somalia - Bananas and livestock over 50% of exports

[image, unknown] THE FUTURE
A sustainable future for the Horn depends on a healthy environment and modest population growth.15

DEFORESTATION
. At the turn of the century some 40% of Ethiopia was covered by forests compared with 2.7% today.
. Sudan has lost 31,000 square kilometres of wooded land per year over the last decade.
. In 1989 alone the amount of forest in northern Sudan which became desert could have supplied 25% of the country's annual wood needs.

POPULATION
The Horn of Africa is nearly half the size of the US with a combined population of some 75 million. By the year 2025 the population is projected to be 195 million. Nearly half the current population is under 15 years of age.

1 John Prendergast, Peace, Development, and People of the Horn of Africa (Centre of Concern, Washington, 1992)
2 Prendergast, op. cit.
3 Samia el Hadi El Naar, 'Children and War in the Horn of Africa', in Lionel Cliffe et al. ,ed. Beyond Conflict in the Horn (Red Sea Press, Trenton, 1992)
4 Prendergast, op. cit.
5 Prendergast, op. cit.
6 Ruth Leger Sivard, World Military and Social Expenditures, (World Priorities, Washington, 1991)
7 Sub-Saharan Africa: from Crisis to Sustainable Growth, (World Bank, Washington, 1989.)
8 Jeffery A. Lefebvre, Arms for the Horn, (University of Pittsburg Press, 1991)
9 Michael Clough, Free at Last? US Policy Towards Africa and the End of the Cold War (Council on Foreign Relations, N.Y. 1992)
10 Lefebrve, op. cit.
11 Prendergast, op.cit.
12 World Development Report, (World Bank, 1992)
13 Sub- Saharan Africa, op. cit
14 The African Review (Hunter Publishing, 1991-92, New Jersey)
15 Prendergast, op. cit.

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