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Obama Announces $3B Food Initiative For Africa

In a Symposium on Global Agriculture and Food Security on Friday, President Barack Obama “announced a plan to accelerate investments in developing world agriculture to meet rising food demands and improve nutrition, calling the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition a moral, economic and security imperative,” IIP Digital reports (Porter, 5/18). The new program, unveiled “in conjunction with African leaders from Ethiopia, Ghana and Tanzania, will parlay more than $3 billion in private assistance into a public-private partnership with an ambitious goal: lifting 50 million people from poverty over 10 years,” according to USA Today’s “The Oval” (Wolf, 5/18). The initiative “will constitute the next phase of a groundbreaking program begun during the 2009 G8 summit in L’Aquila, Italy,” Inter Press Service writes (Brion, 5/18). More than 45 companies have pledged to invest in the initiative, Devex notes (Ravelo, 5/10). A fact sheet on the New Alliance is available on the White House website (5/18).

In an interview with Ray Suarez of PBS NewsHour, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah said of the initiative, “[I]t’s a grand goal, but it’s an achievable goal” (5/18). In an interview with Andrea Mitchell of MSNBC, Shah said, “Today is unique and it’s unique because you have companies from the United States, from India, from Europe, and most importantly dozens of African entrepreneurs and companies coming together and saying we want to be part of this, as well” (5/18). Speaking at the meeting, Obama “said the U.S. and other donor nations would continue to make ‘historic investments’ in development, though he offered no new American government pledges,” the Associated Press/Washington Post reports (5/18). “The president spoke as he prepared to host the annual economic summit of the Group of Eight [G8] leading industrialized nations at the Camp David presidential retreat outside Washington,” VOA News notes (Klein, 5/18). “Food security was on the G8 agenda as a priority, with promised follow-through at the broader Group of 20 meeting to be in Los Cabos, Mexico, June 18-19, officials said,” according to United Press International (5/18). The Wall Street Journal’s “Dispatch” blog provides the text of a declaration from the G8 leaders (5/19).