U.S., European trade policies contribute to African hunger, authors say

Providing financing for farmers will make a difference only if they are encouraged by their governments to use high-yield seeds, better manage water supplies and replenish soil nutrients.

International lenders such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, who for years cut African agricultural budgets, now see the need to reinvest in the sector as a strategy to ease the continent's lingering poverty.

To the chorus of recommendations, Enough pitches in with a few of its own. For example, the authors see the need for infrastructure investment and a global fund for small farmers to help them compete with their counterparts in the developed world.

The authors quote Feike Sijbesma, chairman of DSM, the world's largest producer of vitamins, in underscoring the importance of green solutions.

As every capitalist knows, "You can't be successful in a society that fails," Sijbesma says.

For sensitive souls, the book's vivid descriptions of the ugliness of African poverty can make for difficult reading. But the knowledge is worth the unpleasantness. Thurow and Kilman lead the reader on a journey across continents, explaining the complexities of economic dysfunction and reminding us that there is a symbiosis of wealth and poverty that explains why starvation endures in an age of plenty.

Sunanda Holmes is a lawyer and expert on international health and development issues

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