US, G8 expand sub-Saharan Africa aid

2012-09-27 15:55

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New York - The United States and other G8 nations are expanding a programme to lift 50 million people in sub-Saharan Africa out of poverty and hunger within the next decade, US officials said on Wednesday.

More than 60 companies pledging around $4bn in private business commitments to help build seed, fertiliser or small-scale irrigation firms have joined the Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition.

The initiative was launched by President Barack Obama in May at a G8 summit and brings together G8 nations, African countries and private sector firms.

Ethiopia, Tanzania and Ghana were the first three countries to be included, but USaid administrator Rajiv Shah announced that Mozambique, Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso have also now been included.

"The G8 has taken decisive steps to increase investments in agriculture and nutrition in order to strengthen global food security and lift millions from poverty," said Shah.

"This effort is designed to move 50 million people out of poverty and hunger and reduce malnutrition amongst probably more than 15 million children who suffer from chronic stunting," a senior State Department official said.

Tough commitments

Progress was needed because drought-like conditions in parts of the world - including in the United States - were pushing food prices up again and "the most vulnerable amongst us are being pushed back under a condition of poverty and hunger because they don't have the ability to support themselves".

The countries involved in the alliance have to make tough commitments in order to join, including raising levels of domestic expenditure in agriculture.

They also have to agree to reforms "to improve land titling and access for women and families in particular, but also to restrict export bans of products and to reduce... or eliminate excise taxes on foreign direct investment".

The programme has a particular focus on helping women and small-scale farmers, "because we know that particular effort is the single most effective way to reduce extreme poverty and hunger around the world", the US official said.

"We know that when women's incomes rise in particular, they're most likely to invest that in their children and their family's welfare."

Read more on:    g8  |  barack obama  |  mozambique  |  us  |  tanzania  |  ghana  |  ethiopia  |  southern africa  |  east africa
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