Developing agriculture in Africa is the goal of a non-profit group based in Washington, called “Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa.” It was founded some six years ago to encourage economic development through African and US agricultural investment. Statistics indicate that three-quarters of all Africans depend on agriculture for a living.
Julie Howard, the partnership’s executive director, told Voice of America, English to Africa reporter Cole Mallard that the goal is to stimulate demand for US public and private investment in agriculture and rural development. She says the former head of USAID, Andrew Natsios, has been successful in re-focusing attention on agriculture.
Howard says the relatively new Millennium Challenge Corporation “really tries to address what Africans say are their key needs,” and “we’re seeing the World Bank turning back to agriculture in a big way.” Howard says during the 1970s and 80s the World Bank focused more on health, village-level development, and environmental issues. But she says after studying the issue, the World Bank now thinks poverty cannot be effectively addressed unless agricultural priorities are reinstated. This attitude is reinforced, she says, because the past two World Bank presidents have supported increased agricultural investment by the bank. Howard says she’s hopeful that the current World Bank president will continue that support.