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BOOKS by Benny Dembitzer
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Millions of dollars, pounds, and euros are spent every year helping the poorest in Africa. Why are over 30,000 a day still starving to death?

Millions of dollars, pounds, and euros are collected every year from generous donors and spent on helping the poorest people in Africa. Why has poverty not been solved? Why are still more than 30,000 people per day (yes, per day) dying of hunger across the world? This book gives a blistering account of the waste and self-serving interests that dominate the so-called aid and development scene. Benny Dembitzer is a member of a team that was awarded the Nobel peace prize and is a highly experienced activist and adviser on international development issues. See more about Benny here.


Coming soon June 15th 2024...

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The book explains why the push factors from Africa - insecurity, climate change, lack of space and water, population growth, decreasing arable land, exploding cities – are much more powerful than the pull factors of Europe. Most would-be migrants understand the perils involved crossing the Sahara, risking their lives in Libya and in trying to reach Italy or Greece, but they have little choice. Dembitzer examines the issues and makes suggestions on how the North could realistically help tackle some of the most immediate challenges confronting some of poorest people on earth.

"The Famine Next Door is a learned and passionate understanding of issues that ‘experts’ make more complex than they are."

 - Dr Susan Cotts Watkins, Professor Emerita of Sociology, University of Pennsylvania

"Benny Dembitzer in his book “THE FAMINE NEXT DOOR” graphically captures the state of our suffering and neglected world, the millions of populations, dying children, escaping young men and women from the Global South, mainly from Africa, victims of natural and avoidable man-made disasters. He writes as a passionate “knowing voice” of the poor, neglected and marginalised, caught in a medley of dysfunctional governments and competing multinational aid organisations."

 - Dr Kanayo F. Nwanze, former President of IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development)


"His analysis is spot on."

- Calestous Juma, Professor of the Practice of International Development at Harvard University



The author, Benny Dembitzer, argues that “The push factor forcing people to escape is greater than the pull of Europe. People cannot survive in their own countries. Population growth is exponential. Climate change has dried their lands. Cities have become huge slums. There is no food. There is no water. They have to escape to survive.”

If we look at the issues solely from the fear of being “swamped by aliens”, the fear factor being used by the increasingly right-of-centre governments in Europe and the US, we are unable to face up to reality. We need to help prevent the mass migration at its roots. The alternative is ever greater migration to Europe and further fragmentation of our own societies. We need to address the increasing causes of poverty and despair in the Global South and increasing threat of catastrophic famines.

The author has seen at first hand the enormous dangers that are faced by the millions of people forced to flee conflict, climate change and famine in Africa. Over the last 50 years he has worked in 35 countries across the continent – working with organisations from OXFAM and CARE, from the World Bank to DFID. He believes that drastic changes are needed before international aid and development initiatives can make any real difference. His book states that understanding the issues is a matter for basic survival for us all.

A radical new approach is required. The author argues that governments in the North need to strengthen the capacity of governments across sub-Saharan Africa to improve their ability to govern. That not only requires less centralisations of decision-making but tackling corruption at all levels and encouraging transparency. International non-governmental agencies, from Oxfam to Christian Aid and World Vision to the International Red Cross need to reach people at the grassroots. That can only happen if they support the poorest – smallholder farmers, women, refugees, slum dwellers, the handicapped, nomadic people – and tackle the issues that affect them. At present most of these agencies are creating a large number of people who are loyal to their own paymasters, but are undermining the long-term ability of those countries to co-op the ablest people into public service.


Benny Dembitzer is the author of two previous books; ‘The Attack on World Poverty: Going Back to Basics’ (2009) and ‘Sleepwalking into Global Famine’ (2012). He has taught at Cambridge, Cranfield, Southbank and Greenwich Universities; and has worked in more than 35 countries with a number of statutory and voluntary agencies.

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