WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama on Friday said the United States has a “moral imperative” to lead the fight against hunger and malnutrition in Africa despite shrinking national budgets around the world.
Obama announced $3 billion in private sector pledges to help boost agriculture and food production in Africa. He said the U.S. and other donor nations would continue to make “historic investments” in development, though he offered no new American government pledges.
“Some have asked in a time of austerity, whether this new alliance is just a way for governments to shift the burden on to somebody else,” Obama said of the private sector commitments. “I want to be clear, the answer is no.”
Obama’s announcement in Washington kicked off four days of international summitry. World leaders are gathering at Camp David, the presidential retreat in the Maryland mountains, later in the day for a summit of the Group of Eight leading industrial nations. Obama heads to Chicago on Saturday evening for NATO meetings.
While much of the G-8 meetings will focus on Europe’s mounting economic troubles, leaders will also hold a session on food security in Africa. Obama invited the heads of four African nation — Benin, Ethiopia, Ghana and Tanzania — to attend the meeting.
Obama said that even as G-8 leaders dealt with Europe’s pressing fiscal challenges, he 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.”
The White House said the private sector pledges, along with commitments from donor countries to work with African nations on food security programs, could raise 50 million people out of poverty over the next 10 years.
InterAction, an alliance of non-governmental organizations, welcomed the private sector pledges, but said they must not be a substitute for governments meeting their previous food security obligations. And the international organization Oxfam said the funds were a “nice complement at best, a deflection at worst.”
Obama championed a food security initiative at the 2009 G-8 summit that resulted in $22 billion in government-backed pledges. The pledge period for L’Aquila Food Security Initiative ends later this year, and some humanitarian groups say much of the promised money has not been dispersed.
The president urged wealthy nations to make good on their pledges.
“We must do what we say. No empty promises,” Obama said.
The G-8 will release an accountability report this weekend detailing how much of the $22 billion is still on the sidelines. Administration officials say the U.S. is on track to fulfill its $3.5 billion pledge.
Obama, whose father was born in Kenya, sought to put the problem of food security in Africa in personal terms. Some of his relatives in Kenya live in villages where hunger is sometimes a reality, he said.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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