Today at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, President Biden reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to working with the African Union and our African partners to accelerate progress toward achieving food security, building stronger food systems and more diversified supply chains, and expanding African countries’ access to agricultural markets.
President Biden announced an additional $2.5 billion in emergency aid and medium to long-term food security assistance for resilient African food systems and supply markets, which builds upon over $11 billion in U.S. humanitarian and food security assistance for this year alone. President Biden also launched a new strategic partnership on food security between the United States and the African Union. Together, we will leverage the public and private sectors, along with multilateral development banks and international financial institutions to accelerate transformational investments in sustainable and resilient food systems to prevent food shocks before they happen.
The compounding impacts of the global pandemic, the growing pressures of the deepening climate crisis, high energy and fertilizer costs, and protracted conflicts – including Russia’s war in Ukraine – have pushed weak supply chains to the brink and dramatically increased malnutrition and food insecurity — particularly for African countries. A multi-year drought in the Horn of Africa has created a dire humanitarian emergency, with parts of Somalia experiencing a severe risk of famine for the second time in just over a decade. The swift U.S. humanitarian response over the past few months has helped forestall famine. The Biden-Harris Administration remains committed to responding to humanitarian needs and providing lifesaving in response to the historic food security crisis, while also investing in medium- and long-term resilient food systems and supply markets.
Humanitarian Response: Addressing the Immediate and Acute Food Insecurity Crisis
- Critical Humanitarian Assistance and Resilience Food Security Program Funds: President Biden announced that through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Administration will provide an additional $2 billion in urgently needed humanitarian assistance – including food, water, shelter, emergency healthcare, sanitation and hygiene, humanitarian protection, and critical nutrition services – to help the people of African nations impacted by disasters and ongoing protracted humanitarian crises. This includes providing immediate life-saving assistance to internally displaced people who have been forced to flee their homes and providing food assistance to refugees who have crossed national borders.
Medium- and Long-term Investments
- Benin-Niger Regional Transport Compact and Malawi Compact: At the U.S. Africa Business Forum, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) signed Benin-Niger Regional Transport Compacts, totaling $504 million with Benin and Niger contributing an additional $15 million each to support MCC’s investment. The compact will help reduce transportation costs and lower trade barriers from the Port of Cotonou to Niger’s capital city of Niamey, enabling rural communities to multinational business corridors to grow faster, create more jobs, and attract additional private sector investments to strengthen food supply chains. Earlier this year, MCC signed a Compact with the Government of Malawi, which includes a $245 million Accelerated Growth Corridors Project to reduce transport costs and better connect goods, farms, and rural populations to markets.
- Launching Scientific Exchanges Program in West Africa: In 2023, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is partnering with the University of Missouri through the Foreign Agriculture Service’s Scientific Exchanges Program to provide training to researchers in West Africa on climate-smart agriculture and pest risk management.
- Increasing Food Safety for Food Security (FS4FS) Program: USDA is partnering with USAID and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to support food safety capacity building in Africa. USDA, USAID, and FDA have launched a new, five-year $15 million program. The FS4FS program will help address capacity building needs on sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) policy and regulatory issues globally and in Africa.
Other U.S. investments made this year to respond to the food crisis include:
- Support for Food Security in Somalia: USAID is also rapidly scaling up food security assistance to marginalized, vulnerable populations in Somalia, including women and youth. This support will expand smallholder farmers’ access to high quality, climate-smart inputs, and investing in the fisheries sector to diversify local livelihoods. This support is helping mitigate food price shocks, and strengthening the resilience of marginalized persons to withstand shocks. Alongside these efforts to address severe famine, USAID’s humanitarian assistance activities support early warning decision-making to mitigate the impacts of natural disasters and support internally displaced households.
- Sustainable, Resilient Food Systems: Delivering on President Biden’s September 2021 commitment of $5 billion over five years for Feed the Future programs, USAID is investing $412 million in programming to drive economic growth and strengthen food systems. This funding will reduce food loss and waste; expand large-scale food fortification to deliver essential vitamins and minerals; and strengthen market systems.
- Support for Last Mile Delivery: Through USAID, the U.S. Government is investing more than $100 million to mitigate the global fertilizer shortage and building agricultural capacity and resilience. This includes a new effort to accelerate last-mile delivery of agricultural tools, information, and production methods to smallholder farmers. Focal countries include Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia, and additional countries impacted by the fertilizer supply crisis.
- Furthering the Adapting Nutritious Crops Initiative in Africa: The U.S. State Department is launching a new initiative to increase investments in efforts to adapt the most important indigenous and orphan crops to climate change. This initiative will identify the most important crops for nutrition in Africa through a multi-stakeholder process; assess how these crops will perform under climate change; and invest in yield improvement efforts for these crops.
- Increasing U.S. Peace Corps Presence and Support for Feed the Future Countries: By the end of 2023, the U.S. Peace Corps will send more than 700 Volunteers to 20 sub-Saharan African nations, including seven Feed the Future Target countries, to work on food security and nutrition. Invited by these countries, the Peace Corps will place Volunteers in the least served communities where they will work side-by-side with community counterparts to address the most urgent food security needs, including by providing direct assistance to smallholder farmers to sustainably increase food production and adapt to climate change.
- Furthering Investments in Food Security and Agriculture in Africa: In 2021, the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) announced a goal of investing $1 billion in food and agriculture projects globally over the next five years. Over the past year, DFC committed more than $157 million to companies and intermediaries investing in food security in Africa. These investments support agricultural small and medium enterprises, regenerative and drought resilient agriculture and aquaculture, as well as other sustainable and climate smart investments.
- Furthering Support for the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program: U.S. Treasury Department’s (Treasury) contribution of $155 million to the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) allowed for the launch of its first Call for Proposals since the pandemic, which includes 33 eligible countries in Africa and supports GAFSP’s efforts to invest in small-scale farmers and develop climate-smart, resilient food systems. The Call is prioritizing interventions with climate benefits. In addition to this recent contribution, earlier this year, Treasury stepped up to serve as Co-Chair of the GAFSP Steering Committee, which includes donors, partner countries, multilateral development agencies, and civil society organizations, and Chair of the Private Sector Window Donor Committee.
- Supporting IFAD’s Crisis Response Initiative: Treasury’s contribution of $10 million to the International Fund for Agricultural Development’s (IFAD) Crisis Response Initiative will help protect farmers’ livelihoods and build resilience in rural communities, reduce post-harvest losses and improve market access.
- Support for AfDB’s Africa Fertilizer Financing Mechanism: USAID will provide $15 million in support to the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) existing fertilizer guarantee activity, the Africa Fertilizer Financing Mechanism (AFFM), to provide financing and credit guarantees and leverage private sector financing for 4.5 million African farmers, and help meet the growing demand for fertilizer in Sub-Saharan Africa. For every $1 million in credit guarantees, this partnership is expected to leverage up to $20 million in fertilizer sales.
- USAID Partnership with the AfDB on Agricultural Trade Finance: USAID is partnering with the AfDB to mitigate the impacts on food security and nutrition as a result of constrained supplies of inputs necessary to produce staple foods and expand the finance and trade of agricultural products within and across borders, and promote investment across the agriculture value chain to increase food production and growth of the agriculture sector.
- Support for Food Security in the Sahel: Through USAID, the U.S. Government is boosting food production, improving natural resource management, and increasing resilience to future shocks in the Sahel region. USAID will also program $3 million in Burkina Faso to enhance food production and improve value chain resilience, $3.5 million in Mauritania to assist farmers, and $3.5 million in Chad to improve natural resource management to prevent future shocks.