Improved capacity to predict drought‐induced famines has not led to a concomitant improvement in famine prevention. In a comparative study of five African countries, this article argues that the failure to translate more information into timely and appropriate response is explained by a myriad of institutional and – crucially – political obstacles. It is often negotiation over conflicting interests between donors and governments of recipient countries which determines the timing and level of famine response; the role of information becomes peripheral to much of the decision‐making process. Policy implications of the study include better preplanning of response and decentralisation of response capacity, as well as joint ventures between donors and governments to provide – and hence own – early warning information.
Volume 51 Number 1A
Published: May 27, 2020