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3 Countries Join Africa Food Security Initiative

A boy waits for food during a food distribution from an international Non-government Organization (NGO) in Mogadishu June 30, 2012
Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast and Mozambique have joined a global partnership aimed at boosting food security and addressing malnutrition in Africa.

The countries are part of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition launched earlier this year by the Group of Eight leading industrial nations.

The initiative includes partnerships with international corporations and African companies, and seeks to help bring 50 million people in sub-Saharan Africa out of poverty in the next 10 years.

U.S. officials announced the new partners Wednesday. They join Ethiopia, Ghana and Tanzania, which have been part of the program since May.

The countries pledge to carry out reforms, including increasing domestic agriculture spending, improving land titling, ensuring access for women and families, and altering export and tax policies that have deterred outside agriculture investment.

A U.S. State Department official said persistent drought conditions in areas around the world show the need for continued progress in addressing food security, saying spikes in food prices threaten to push vulnerable populations into poverty.

He said the program now includes 60 companies, which are investing more than $4 billion to help build seed, fertilizer, irrigation and marketing businesses in local communities to aid small-scale farmers.