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International development experts share their ideas on how wealthy countries can promote prosperity in developing countries. Follow at

Aug 9, 2011

It’s not often that the United Nations sees fit to officially declare a food crisis a famine. That’s a testament to the severity of the ongoing suffering in Somalia, a disaster of biblical proportions that has already claimed the lives of tens of thousands. But evidence abounds that famines are not only the result of natural occurrences. On the contrary, most are the shocking result of human error or, in the worst case, deliberate neglect.

This was the message Owen Barder drove home to me in this week’s Wonkcast. Owen acquired an intimate understanding of the realities of food scarcity when he traveled to Ethiopia during the food crisis of 1984-85, and more recently while spending three years living in the capital, Addis Ababa. To him, governance and information are central components of food emergencies.

Read a full show summary on the Wonkcast site: