United States President Barack Obama is expected to unveil a $6 billion international public-private partnership to extend the Green Revolution to Africa ahead the G8 Leaders' Meetings slated for this weekend in Washington DC.
The initiative, which is linked to this weekend's G-8 summit, aims to lift 50 million people out of hunger and poverty within a decade by investing in modern agricultural methods and technologies.
Rich countries are expected to commit to spending $3 billion – the U.S. share is around $850 million over three years – while three dozen international and African companies will pledge a similar amount in investments such as fertilizer production, grain silos and new food products.
“We're now putting together a fundamentally new approach to tackling hunger and poverty in sub-Saharan Africa,” said Rajiv Shah, administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Shah said the effort was a continuation of the Green Revolution of the 1970s and 80s, which saved countless lives in Latin American and Asian countries that were facing widespread starvation.
“The effort never made it to Africa, for a broad set of reasons,” Shah said. “Private companies never really invested in Africa in this sector. Public partners abandoned Africa in this sector. And African leaders themselves stopped thinking of agriculture as the solution. This really represents a change in that mindset.”
African heads of state from Ethiopia, Ghana, Tanzania and Benin will participate in the announcement, as well as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U2's Bono, U.S. Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and officials from the UN World Food Programme and other international organizations. And three dozen companies, including U.S. giants Cargill, DuPont and Monsanto, will pledge to invest millions of dollars in African agriculture.
Such investments, Shah said, will provide long-term savings for donor nations.
“Across the board, countries view their investments in development – especially around food security – as being in the long-term defense of their national interests,” he said. “It is much cheaper to invest in agricultural development in the Horn of Africa than it is to provide food aid in a time of crisis, as we've had to do last year.”