Obama's 'Boring' Aid Is Saving Lives in Africa

Nicholas Kristof: US emphasis on agriculture isn't sexy, but it's effective
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 12, 2012 1:58 PM CDT
Updated Jul 12, 2012 2:02 PM CDT
If the corn withers, African farmers are learning other ways to cope.   (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

(Newser) – President Obama deserves credit for a great foreign aid success, writes Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times, but it's a safe bet you haven't heard of it. That's because it's happening not in a war zone or some sexy locale but on small farms in southern Africa. There, USAID is helping farmers figure out better crops and methods, thanks to the president's emphasis on agriculture programs.

"On the plus side, these initiatives are smart, cost-effective and potentially transformative," writes Kristof, now touring Malawi and seeing the results firsthand. "On the negative side, they’re boring. At a time when there’s a vigorous political debate in America about foreign aid, outreach to African farmers doesn’t wow Congress or the American people." Well, who cares. This aid might just end famine and lift families out of poverty, so "let's celebrate boring aid!" Read his full column here.

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