Mozambique: US official encourages African countries to attain some key targets of MDGs

Chimoio, Mozambique (PANA) -  African countries lagging behind on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) still can work hard to achieve some key targets by the 2015 deadline, according to US Ambassador David Lane who is in charge of his government's interventions for UN agencies responsible for food and agriculture.

Although some countries in sub-Saharan Africa still battle to achieve some targets of the MDGs, the credibility mechanism is still an important tool for them to attract new businesses, encourage joint ventures and technology transfer, Lane told PANA Thursday in the northwestern town Mozambique town of Chimoio.

"The lesson that should remain a powerful teacher is that  some governments need to push hard and organize themselves to achieve some progress," said Lane,  who is currently heading a US Government initiative dubbed 'Feed the Future'.

"Currently the private sector is seen as an important actor in the whole value chain and working with smallholder farmers to boost investment in staple food crops. Development of infrastructure such as storage facilities, combined with public sector investment and development as well as promoting access to market, can boost national economies," he said.

He recalled that world governments in 2009 adopted the universal declaration on food security, urging nations to push forward their agenda after it was realized that the number of people suffering from hunger and poverty had exceeded one billion across the globe, including mainly the sub-Saharan African region.

"As a key stakeholder, the US government is  trying to identify the ingredients it has and let the governments set the directions depending on their own agenda," Lane said.

According to the 2014 report on State of Food Insecurity in the world, recently released by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Ghana is the only African nation on the list of countries across the world that have made outstanding progress to increase food security.

Algeria, Angola, Benin, Egypt, Ethiopia, Djibouti,  Morocco, Gabon, Gambia , Malawi , Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Niger and Nigeria are African countries that have already met the first Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target of reducing by half the proportion of hungry people between 1990 and 2015, the report said.

Commenting on the report, Lane noted that the main reason for this trend whereby some development projects failed to work in Sub-Saharan Africa, was that the countries still needed  to lay the foundation for dynamic economic growth.

He urged the private sector to partner with governments to investing in agriculture especially by linking smallholder farmers to markets and commercialization programmes.

Lane said that all successful countries have one thing in common – "putting high priority on nutrition, helping smallholders to become businessmen, accessing credit and helping them to acquire entrepreneurial skills".

-0- PANA TWA/AR 11Dec2014

11 december 2014 16:50:01




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