In an unprecedented move, the United States and Norway jointly announced a substantial commitment of $70 million toward the establishment of a groundbreaking fund aimed at bolstering African agriculture, according to a spokesperson from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
The decision to create this fund stems from the escalating issue of hunger in various African regions, a crisis exacerbated by armed conflicts and extreme weather events increasingly attributed to the impacts of fossil fuel-driven climate change.
This landmark announcement was made by USAID Administrator Samantha Power and Norwegian Minister of International Development Beathe Tvinnereim during a session of the U.N. General Assembly. It comes at a time when global powers, including Russia and China, are actively competing with the United States and Europe for influence and partnerships with developing nations.
The fund, aspires to amass a total of $200 million, with additional contributions from various donors. It holds the potential to make a positive impact on the lives of nearly 7.5 million individuals, as outlined by the spokesperson.
The initial investments from the USAID and Norway will each amount to $35 million, which will be instrumental in supporting approximately 500 small- and medium-sized agricultural enterprises, benefiting 1.5 million smallholder farmers, and creating nearly 60,000 job opportunities within the private sector.
One of the core objectives of this fund is to mitigate investment risks, thereby attracting significant commercial financing, potentially reaching hundreds of millions of dollars.
Notably, despite the relief brought by unexpected rainfall in the Horn of Africa, which defied predictions of a fifth consecutive year of drought, roughly 60 million people across seven East African nations continue to grapple with food insecurity.
Furthermore, West Africa has been grappling with food scarcity driven by climate-related disruptions, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and soaring food prices.
USAID Administrator Samantha Power underscored the significance of supporting small-scale agribusinesses in Africa, highlighting their crucial role in ensuring food security. She noted, “Without these smaller agribusinesses, Africa’s smallholder farmers are growing just enough to feed themselves and their families. But connect them to a nursery that can supply them with quality seeds and fertilizer, a market where they can sell excess harvest, or a processor that can turn their crops into higher-value products, and suddenly they have a chance to take off, delivering the kind of agricultural growth we know is necessary to fight hunger and poverty.”
This collaboration between the United States and Norway represents a significant step forward in addressing the pressing agricultural challenges facing Africa, with the potential to bring about transformative change for millions of people on the continent.