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Obama To Announce New Initiative Aimed At Boosting African Agriculture In Advance Of G8 Summit This Weekend

On Friday, President Barack Obama is expected to announce “new investments in African agriculture in a speech in Washington … as a precursor to the weekend Group of Eight [G8] summit at Camp David, Maryland,” Bloomberg Businessweek reports (Bjerga, 5/18). “The president is scheduled to speak to African leaders at a summit on food security Friday,” VOA News writes, adding, “[The] new initiative is expected to target 50 million food-insecure people by boosting agricultural investments” (5/17). According to NPR’s “Morning Edition,” “The leaders of Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Ghana are among those in Washington to launch the new food security initiative, which [USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah] says will include several billion dollars in investments from private companies” (Kelemen, 5/18). “We are never going to end hunger in Africa without private investment,” Shah said, the New York Times writes (Strom, 5/17).

Shah, “who took part in [a] White House briefing [ahead of Obama’s speech on Friday], said 45 private companies would contribute more than $3 billion to help small-scale agricultural projects” as part of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, the Guardian notes, adding, “The $3 billion amounts to a small proportion of the $22 billion pledged by the G8 at L’Aquila in a three-year deal brokered by Obama” (MacAskill, 5/18). Food security also is on the agenda of the G8 summit, taking place Friday and Saturday outside of Washington, D.C., VOA adds (5/17). On Thursday, “U.S. and world leaders met on Capitol Hill to assess efforts to combat child malnutrition — a condition which results in three million preventable child deaths annually and drains billions of dollars in lost productivity and health care costs from poor countries,” a press release from the 1,000 Days Partnership states, adding, “Participants at the ‘Scaling Up Nutrition: Calling All Champions’ briefing called upon G8 leaders to prioritize action on child malnutrition as part of their development and food security discussions at the G8 summit” (5/17).