On the eve of the G8 meeting this weekend, President Barack Obama announced this morning a $3 billion initiative that will use private assistance to form a private-public partnership with a goal of lifting 50 million people out of poverty over the next decade. “There is no reason why Africa cannot feed itself,” Obama said in a speech this morning announcing the initiative.
Here is the description of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition in a Fact Sheet released this morning by the White House:
At the Camp David Summit, G-8 and African leaders will commit to the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, the next phase of our shared commitment to achieving global food security. In partnership with Africa’s people and leaders, our goals are to increase responsible domestic and foreign private investments in African agriculture, take innovations that can enhance agricultural productivity to scale, and reduce the risk borne by vulnerable economies and communities. We recognize and will act upon the critical role played by smallholder farmers, especially women, in transforming agriculture and building thriving economies.
The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition is a shared commitment to achieve sustained and inclusive agricultural growth and raise 50 million people out of poverty over the next 10 years by aligning the commitments of Africa’s leadership to drive effective country plans and policies for food security; the commitments of private sector partners to increase investments where the conditions are right; and the commitments of the G-8 to expand Africa’s potential for rapid and sustainable agricultural growth.
According to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), 21 African and 27 multinational companies have signed letters of intent to participate in the intiative. USAID Administrator Raj Shah told National Public Radio that the Obama Administration believes that Africa has suffered from a lack of investment, and that this initiative is “designed to address that, and it’s African leaders themselves [who] are leading the way,” he says.
“To give you just one example, we are working with Pepsi in Ethiopia to create a chickpea-based product that can both be sold in their own hummus business and also be packaged and provided to children who are deeply malnourished in food aid programs,” he says. “That’s going to help 30,000 farmers in Ethiopia move out of poverty, and it will help thousands of children improve their nutrition status.”
Other proposed projects include:
• Yara International intends to invest up to US$2 billion to build a world-class fertilizer production facility—among the first of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa—and develop regional fertilizer distribution hubs;
• Rabobank intends to launch a lending facility in West Africa that would provide up to US$135 million in loans over five years to small and medium-size companies in the region which participate in the agricultural value chain, ranging from production, processing and logistics to services and technology;
• Vodafone intends to establish the Connected Farmer Alliance in Tanzania, Mozambique and Kenya to increase the productivity, incomes and resilience of over 500,000 smallholder farmers by strengthening the linkages and feedback loops between smallholder farmers and large agribusinesses, thereby decreasing the cost of doing business with smallholder farmers and helping improve their productivity.
• Tanseed, a private seed company in Tanzania, is committed to training contract growers in certified seed production – leading to an estimated $11 million in additional sourcing from local certified seed contract growers – and seed processing using innovative smaller 0.25 to 2kg seed packs to meet needs of smallholder farmers with low purchasing power.
To interview CRS experts on food security and agriculture, contact CRS Communications Director John Rivera