Ethiopia Convenes Partners in New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition
At the start of Ethiopia’s New Year (according to the Julian Calendar), September 12, 2012, the Ministry of Agriculture hosted a meeting of G-8 and private sector partners to move forward the Ethiopian agenda for the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition. President Obama led the launch of the New Alliance at the G8 Summit in Washington in May 2012. Ethiopia is one of three African countries where government and private sector concerns have committed to cooperating on agricultural development and improved nutrition with the assistance of the G8 development donors, building on their commitment to end hunger at the L’Aquila G8 summit of 2009.
The meeting began with a minute of silence to remember Prime Minister Meles Zenawi who had particpated in the New Alliance launch in Washington. Prime Minister Meles championed food security and agricultural growth as one of the pillars of Ethiopia’s social and economic transformation.
Minister of Agriculture Tefera Derebew opened the meeting reaffirming Ethiopia’s commitment to achieving food security and to effecting policy reforms and public-private cooperation to “mainstream the New Alliance agenda into [Ethiopia’s] Agriculture Sector Policy and Investment framework.” New USAID Mission Director Dennis Weller speaking on behalf of the G-8 and as co-chair with the World Bank and the Ministry of Agriculture of the joint working group on food security and rural economic development, said: “Collectively, we want our efforts to reduce the impact of climactic shocks, build resilience, and sustain poverty reduction over time."
Representatives of Ethiopia’s Agriculture Transformation Agency provided examples of how a public-private partnership works and used as an example one involving USAID around chick pea production and processing of therapeutic foods. Four of the 14 private sector enterprises or banks who signed letters of intent for the G8 Cooperation Framework for the New Alliance in Ethiopia presented their respective visions and plans for their involvement in the New Alliance: The multi-national Dupont-Pioneer working on improved maize, Ethiopian enterprise Guts Agro Industry working on chick peas and nutritional food processing, Multi-national Diageo working on barley, and the local Zemen bank, a USAID partner on the Development Credit Authority program and whose primary focus is financing for agri-business.