News / USA

Obama Announces Food Initiative for Africa

President Barack Obama joins African leaders, aid organizations to address African hunger, poverty, Washington, May 18, 2012.
President Barack Obama joins African leaders, aid organizations to address African hunger, poverty, Washington, May 18, 2012.
Kent Klein

WHITE HOUSE - U.S. President Barack Obama has announced a plan aimed at lifting 50 million Africans out of poverty in the next 10 years. Private companies from around the world have pledged more than $3 billion toward the effort.

 

With the leaders of several African countries watching, the president said Friday that governments, private industries and organizations will work together to improve Africa's food security.


"Today, I can announce a new global effort we are calling a 'New Alliance' for food security and nutrition. And, to get the job done, we are bringing together all the key players around a shared commitment," said Obama.

At a food security forum in Washington, the president said ending hunger by making African farms more productive is a moral imperative.


"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, that sends us a message that we have still got a lot of work to do. It is unacceptable. It is an outrage. It is an affront to who we are," he said.


The president spoke as he prepared to host the annual economic summit of the Group of Eight leading industrialized nations at the Camp David presidential retreat outside Washington.


To emphasize the importance of food security, Obama invited the leaders of four African nations to attend the G8 summit and discuss the issue.


The president of Ghana, John Mills, said making food more plentiful would make societies more secure.


"When you talk about food security, nutritional security, you are at the same time talking about health security, economic stability, political stability. And without these elements you will struggle with democracy," said Mills.


Although some of the G8 countries are dealing with economic austerity, Obama said the "New Alliance" initiative would help ease the burden on some governments.


"That is what I mean by a new approach that challenges more nations, more organizations, more companies, more NGO’s [non-governmental organizations], challenges individuals - some of the young people who are here - to step up and play a role, because government cannot and should not do this alone. This has to be 'all hands on deck,'" said Obama.


But Obama said private contributions cannot take the place of a government commitment. He said the United States will continue to make what he called "historic investments" in development.


Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said government contributions are absolutely necessary for African development.


"The role of the private sector can only be to supplement the small-scale farmers. There is the issue of rural roads, water supply systems, irrigation infrastructure - all of these require public investment," said Zenawi.


The new food initiative is intended to build on a 2009 food security effort that brought $22 billion in pledges.

You May Like

Myanmar Fighting Poses Dilemma for China

To gain some insight into conflict, VOA’s Steve Herman spoke with Min Zaw Oo, director of ceasefire negotiation and implementation at Myanmar Peace Center More

Australia Concerned Over Islamic State 'Brides'

Canberra believes there are between 30 and 40 Australian women who have taken part in terror attacks or are supporting the Islamic State terror network More

Recreational Marijuana Use Now Legal in Washington, DC

Law allows adults 21 and over to privately possess and smoke 0.05 kilogram of pot, and to grow small amounts of the plant More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More