US agency joins African poverty alleviation mission

June 12th, 2008 - 4:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, June 12 (Xinhua) The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) led by former UN chief Kofi Annan has roped in a US aid agency in a mission to help African countries tackle poverty and souring food crisis. The US government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and Annan’s AGRA issued a joint statement Wednesday announcing their collaboration as part of the mission to help in improving the productivity and income of small-scale farmers and poor rural households in African countries.

“MCC’s investments in agriculture and in public infrastructure such as roads and irrigation complement AGRA’s investments in providing the rural poor with seeds and fertilisers to increase their incomes and production,” said chief executive of MCC John Danilovich.

“Our mutual goal is to put in place a comprehensive and sustainable approach to agricultural development that invests in long-term solutions to end poverty and hunger,” Danilovich said.

Danilovich and Annan, chairman of the AGRA, signed the plan here Wednesday.

The announcement comes as the global food crisis deepens widespread hunger and poverty in Africa, where more than 200 million are suffering from hunger and about 33 million children under five are malnourished.

Speaking about their mission, Annan said: “Collaborations such as ours are essential to putting in place long-term solution to the food crisis.”

AGRA is a partnership-based organisation that works with small-scale farmers across Africa to sustainably increase their productivity and incomes.

It has already invested $330 million in providing solutions to problems ranging from seeds and soil health to market development, agricultural education and policy issues.

MCC, a US government agency designed to work with developing countries, was established in January 2004 with the mission to reduce global poverty through the promotion of sustainable economic growth.

It is based on the principle that aid is most effective when it reinforces good governance, economic freedom and investments in people.

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