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The Perfect Famine

Life 3 - The Perfect Famine

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The 'Perfect Famine' is the kind of famine that happens when everything that can go wrong does go wrong, either because of natural disasters or because of the activities of humans.

That's what is happening in the southern African country of Malawi, where bad weather, poor governance, and profiteering have combined to create a desperate situation. It is at the epicenter of what may become a major famine in the south of the continent. Families are resorting to strategies such as abandoning villages, stealing crops, and eating next year's seed corn - yet Malawi is a green land that should be able to sustain itself. Although many have thought foreign aid would lift the world's poor out of absolute poverty, there is now a growing consensus that the policies of poor countries and ineffectual bureaucracies are major obstacles to sustainable development.

THE PERFECT FAMINE looks at the role of governance through one African example, and discusses the global issues at hand with development experts and economists.

With the support of the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN Habitat); the European Commission Directorate General for Development to promote better understanding of development issues; the Directorate General for the Environment; and the Royal Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.