President Barack Obama said on Friday that he’s launching a major new partnership to reduce hunger and lift tens of millions of people from poverty at a meeting of the Group of Eight industrialized nations at Camp David.
He will be joined by leaders from the African continent, including the first three nations to undertake the effort: Prime Minister Meles of Ethiopia, President Mills of Ghana and President Kikwete of Tanzania will all be in attendance.
The partnership is possible because so many leaders in Africa and around the world have made food security a priority. And that’s why he has mobilized more than $22 billion for a global food security initiative.
The administration continues to promote trade and investment and to build on the work of the African Growth and Opportunity Act.
Here, in his own words, is a portion of the President’s remarks:
You see it in the global partnership to promote open government, which empowers citizens and helps to fuel development, creates the framework, the foundation for economic growth. As the wealthiest nation on Earth, I believe the United States has a moral obligation to lead the fight against hunger and malnutrition, and to partner with others.
Because of smart investments in nutrition and agriculture and safety nets, millions of people in Kenya and Ethiopia did not need emergency aid in the recent drought. But when tens of thousands of children die from the agony of starvation, as in Somalia, it sends a message that the international community still has got a lot of work to do.
Reducing malnutrition and hunger around the world advances international peace and security. And perhaps nowhere do we see this link more vividly than in Africa. On the one hand, Africa is an emerging market. African economies are some of the fastest growing in the world. There’s a surge in foreign investment. There’s a growing middle class; hundreds of millions of people connected by mobile phones; more young Africans online than ever before. There’s hope and some optimism. And all of this has yielded impressive progress — for the first time ever, a decline in extreme poverty in Africa; an increase in crop yields; a dramatic drop in child deaths. That’s the good news, and in part, it’s due to some of the work of the people in this room.
In Africa and around the world, progress isn’t coming fast enough. And economic growth can’t just be for the lucky few at the top. It’s got to be broad-based, for everybody, and a good place to start is in the agricultural sector. So even as the world responds with food aid in a crisis, communities can’t go back just to the way things were, vulnerable as before, waiting for the next crisis to happen. Development has to be sustainable, and as an international community, we have to do better.
The US and its partners are going to build on the progress we’ve made so far. Today, I can announce a new global effort we’re calling a New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition.
And to get the job done we’re bringing together all the key players around a shared commitment. Governments, like those in Africa, that are committed to agricultural development and food security, they agree to take the lead — building on their own plans by making tough reforms and attracting investment. Donor countries — including G8 members and international organizations — agree to more closely align our assistance with these country plans.