Obama announced $3 billion in private sector pledges aimed at boosting agricultural and food production in Africa. The president also ensured that the U.S. and other nations would continue to invest in development.
The announcement marked the beginning of four days of international summitry. Later today world leaders are gathering at Camp David in Maryland for a summit of the Group of Eight leading industrial nations, and Obama will rap up with a trip to Chicago on Sunday for NATO meetings.
Food security in Africa will be a part of the discussion at the G-8 meetings, although the bulk of time will focus on Europe’s mounting economic troubles. President Obama invited the leaders of Benin, Ethiopia, Ghana and Tanzania to attend the meeting.
The President understands the importance of solving Europe’s economic problems, but felt it was “also important, also critical, to focus on the urgent challenge that confronts some 1 billion men, women, and children around the world: the injustice of chronic hunger.”
Obama has been a long-time advocate of hunger relief in Africa, including a 2009 initiative that resulted in $22 billion in government-backed pledges. Unfortunately, according to the Washington Post, some humanitarian groups say much of the promised money has yet to be delivered.
“We must do what we say,” the president proclaimed. “No empty promises.”