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G8 Leaders Launch $20B Initiative To Help Farmers In Developing Countries

The Washington Post reports: “Leaders of the world’s major economies pledged Friday to raise $20 billion over the next three years for food and agricultural aid to the world’s most impoverished countries.” According to Obama administration officials, “the U.S. will contribute at least $3.5 billion over the next three years to the worldwide effort,” which in addition to the funding, “hopes to better coordinate global food aid efforts and work through initiatives already in place in poor countries around the world, rather than creating new plans,” the Washington Post reports (Fletcher, 7/10). 

According to Reuters, the U.N. “says the number of malnourished people has risen over the past two years and is expected to top 1.02 billion this year, reversing a four-decade trend of declines.” Also on Friday, African leaders said they would “voice their concerns” about the G8 countries’ unfulfilled aid promises, Reuters reports. Ethiopian premier Meles Zenawi said, “The key message for us is to ask the G8 to live up to their commitments” (Stewart/Heller, 7/10). 

In a related article, IRIN examines President Obama’s desire to shift “to focus on agricultural development” in U.S.-supported countries, “rather than having them remain recipients.” The change “comes hot on the heels of the 2008 food price crisis, which prompted the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization to call for better governance of food security,” IRIN writes, adding that the “move towards development does not necessarily portend the end of food aid” (7/9).

CQ Transcript Wire/Washington Post published a transcript of President Obama’s remarks to the G8 summit (7/9).