President Obama vowed on Friday to continue investing in improving agriculture and nutrition in developing countries, despite budget constraints.
“Even in these tough fiscal times, we will continue to make historic investments in development,” Obama said in remarks at the Symposium on Global Agriculture and Food. “I pledge to you that this will remain a priority as long as I am the United States’ president.”
Ahead of the G-8 summit that begins on Friday evening, the president announced a new plan to coordinate global efforts to help African countries develop their agricultural sectors.
Called the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, the initiative will bring together African nations, donor countries, and the private sector to pursue efforts to improve food security and nutrition. Forty-five companies have already pledged to invest $3 billion in the food-security effort, Obama said.
The president said he considers anti-famine initiatives a moral, economic, and national-security imperative. The goal, he said, is to make food aid less and less relevant by giving African countries the boost they need. “There is no reason why Africa should not be feeding itself and exporting food again,” Obama said.
Obama has invited the leaders of Ethiopia, Ghana, and Tanzania, as well as the head of the African Union, to join the eight industrialized nations at Camp David for G-8 talks on food security.