The poorest of Africa spend 70 percent of their income on food. That’s the reality the Deputy Assistant Administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development Africa Bureau put before the 300 attendees of the 2008 U.S. Africa Agribusiness Forum this week. That’s the reality that Franklin Moore wants the public and private sectors in the U.S. and Africa to face. Franklin says Africa’s food problems are a part of a worldwide problem.
“The world’s in the midst of a global food crisis unlike any other food crisis,” Franklin said. He says the poorest one billion are living on just one dollar a day, while nations around the globe are experiencing high food prices. That means, he says, the poor are having to choose between food, health care and school. Franklin says a significant part of the global population is spending more than half their income on food. And again, in Africa, he says, the poorest are spending 70 percent of their income on food.
All this, Franklin says, is the result of “fundamental imbalances in supply and demand, particularly of major food staples.”
Franklin says the good news is, correcting these imbalances opens up a wide spectrum of opportunity to transform and help modernize African agricultural systems through private investment. Not just private though. Franklin urges companies and governments to work together and engage in public private partnerships in an effort to reduce global hunger.
During his speech at the forum in Chicago, Franklin talked about what the U.S. in particular is doing to help this effort. He also outlined food crops that are crucial to the African food supply and where and how he sees public private partnership can make a real difference not just in African agribusiness but in the African quality of life. Franklin says the African demand for food staples is $50 billion a year and that demand is expected to double by 2015. Plus, he adds, Africa is the most rapidly urbanizing continent on the planet.
There are solutions to this global food issue though and Franklin urges companies to rise to the challenge. Franklin outlined many specific solutions in his speech. You can listen to it here: