Obama unveils $3b African food security plan to start in Ghana, Tanzania, Ethiopia

May 19, 2012

Barack Obama unveiled the plan at a symposium on global agriculture and food security held today May 18, 2012 ahead of the 2012 G8 Summit in US.

“Today, I can announce that 45 companies — from major international corporations to African companies and cooperatives — have pledged to invest more than $3 billion to kick off this effort,” Obama said in his remarks issued by the White House.

“And we’re starting with these three countries — Tanzania, Ghana and Ethiopia — precisely because of their record in improving agriculture and food security,” Obama added noting that in the coming months, “we’ll expand to six countries”.

He also announced a new global effort calling it ‘New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition’. The alliance includes well-known multinational giants like Monsanto, Diageo and Swiss Re and an Ethiopian coffee exporter Mullege.

According to the US President, it will welcome other countries that are “committed to making tough reforms” as well as welcoming more companies that are willing to invest.

“We’re going to hold ourselves accountable; we’ll measure results.  And we’ll stay focused on clear goals:  boosting farmers’ incomes, and over the next decade, helping 50 million men, women and children lift themselves out of poverty,” he said.

Obama reiterated that the G8 will sustain the commitments it made three years ago, and “we’re going to speed things up”.

“So G8 nations will pledge to honor the commitments we made in L’Aquila.  We must do what we say; no empty promises.  And at the same time, we’ll deliver the assistance to launch this new effort.  Moreover, we’re committing to replenish the very successful Global Agricultural and Food Security Programme. That’s an important part of this overall effort,” he stated.

Obama mentioned that the new Alliance will be working with the World Bank and other partners to better understand and manage the risks that come with changing food prices and a changing climate.

He said a change in prices or a single bad season should not plunge a family, a community or a region into crisis.

The symposium was attended by Prime Minister Meles of Ethiopia, President John Atta Mills of Ghana, President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania and President Yayi Boni of Benin who is also chair of the African Union.