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June 26, 2017

Even Pentagon officials are raising their eyebrows at their Commander-in-Chief’s budget proposals. In particular they aren’t fully on board with the proposed expansion of US military presence in Africa at the expense of diplomacy and humanitarian assistance. This move will pave the way for more costly conflicts on the continent, and they know that they might be asked to put their lives on the line. But even more horrifying is the context in which this decision was taken.

Famine and food insecurity is spreading throughout drought-affected East Africa, while children are starving in Northern Nigeria due to the conflict with Boko Haram. Every day we delay sending aid, or investing in long-term solutions to these food crises, condemns tens of thousands of people to starvation.

Our local staff in African countries are working with community leaders on the ground, but we cannot keep up with the scale of the crisis. Nonprofits can’t end a famine alone. We need wealthy governments like the United States to step up to the plate to finance fighting famine – not funding further conflict. The children we feed in Somaliland, Kenya, or Ethiopia can’t eat guns, and food insecurity is as deadly as conflict in Nigeria at this moment.


To add insult to injury, the Supreme Court has just given the go ahead for a modified travel ban of people fleeing Sudan and Somalia. This comes on the back of the signing of almost 5,000 deportation orders for Somalis alone. Taken together, this perfect storm of poor policy choices certainly won’t buy us any friends in the Horn of Africa.

To care about the continent is to believe that Black lives matter. Trump’s budget tradeoff and policy proposals show a complete disregard for African lives.