On May 18, on the eve of the 2012 G8 Summit, President Barack Obama joined G-8 and African leaders, businesses, international organizations, and civil society members at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ (CCGA’s) Annual Symposium on Global Agriculture and Food Security. The Symposium, convened in collaboration with the World Economic Forum, featured announcements of significant new business commitments for African agriculture and discussions on addressing hunger and poverty in the changing development landscape.
In his keynote remarks, President Obama announced that G8 and African leaders will commit to the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, which aims to achieve sustained and inclusive agricultural growth and raise 50 million people out of poverty over the next 10 years.
The President described the three components of the New Alliance: African leaders commit to enacting pro-market reforms; G8 countries commit to maintaining their L’Aquila pledges and aligning support for African countries; and 45 private sector companies commit to delivering more than $3 billion in investments that will help smallholder farmers (most of them women farmers in Africa) to improve their agricultural production and increase their incomes.
“Fifty years ago, Africa was an exporter of food,” the President said. “There is no reason why Africa should not be feeding itself and exporting food again.”
The New Alliance is intended to build upon and help realize the promise of the 2009 G8 Summit in L’Aquila, Italy, where global leaders committed to “act with the scale and urgency needed to achieve sustainable global food security.” G8 leaders have agreed to promptly fulfill outstanding L’Aquila pledges and maintain strong support for food security through bilateral and multilateral assistance.
President Obama was joined at the Symposium by heads of state from three African countries (Prime Minister Meles of Ethiopia, President Mills of Ghana, and President Kikwete of Tanzania), the Chair of the African Union President Boni of Benin, as well as Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah. Other leaders from the G8 were in attendance, along with multilateral and private organizations including the U.N. World Food Programme, the African Union, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, DuPont, Concern Worldwide, and many others.
The Symposium, held at the Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center in Washington, D.C., featured sessions throughout the day that challenged world leaders to identify ways that business, civil society, and international organizations can complement and amplify African partner country and G8 action on policy, risk management, agricultural research and innovation, markets and trade, and nutrition.
Visit our G8 page for more information and resources on food security as a major focus of the 2012 G8 Summit and follow Feed the Future on Twitter and Facebook to join the conversation on the future of global food security.