African leaders discuss plans to tap food security funds

Kampala- Uganda (PANA) -- African leaders are expected to discuss a plan to tap into the US$ 22 billion pledged for fighting hunger and starvation during the African Union (AU) Summit, which opened here Sunday.
AU Chairman, Bingu wa Mutharika, unveiled to the African leaders a plan to create the 'Strategic Group of Seventeen (SG17)', made up of African countries that have shown progress in tackling starvation.
Mutharika said his proposal was aimed at creating the ad-hoc group to push for the release of funds, pledged by the Group of Eight, the world’s richest countries.
The leaders pledged the funds during a meeting at an Italian resort, L’Aquila, in 2009, to boost global food security.
Mutharika, also the Malawian President, who took over the leadership of the AU in January 2010 and immediately called for a new food and agricultural revolution in Africa, warned leaders against diverting the attention of the AU Summit from the maternal health to the issue of fighting hunger.
Presenting his idea on what he called the "African Food Basket: Innovations, Interventions and Strategic Partnerships," Mutharika said ensuring the survival of the African children would become a more serious challenge to African leaders, unless they invested in fighting hunger and starvation.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni insisted throughout the debate that tackling maternal health would be impossible unless Africa boosted its sources of revenues.
President Mutharika's dream of 'no child should sleep hungry in Africa due to the lack of food within the next five years' has been praised widely across the world.
"I request that we carefully study the proposal and provide comments for the way forward," Mutharika said, adding that the plan to tap into the G8 aid pledges to fight hunger should be driven by 17 African countries.
He said the countries included Algeria, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Liberia, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria and Zimbabwe.
The list would be expanded to 17.
The mandate of the team would be to coordinate the strategies of implementing the AU decisions on agriculture and food security.
He said the group would design new policies of how best to enable Africa benefit from these funds.

25 july 2010 18:18:00

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