Business News of 2014-03-07

Project to improve food security launched

A $70-million project aimed at improving food security and food sustainability in Africa has been launched in Accra.

The project, which would promote policies and capacity-building programmes, is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Known as the Africa Lead II (AL II) the five-year project is intended to support farmers to sustain the economy of their countries to reduce poverty and hunger.

The project, which is in its second phase, is an initiative of President Barack Obama to scale up food security in Africa.

The background

The Africa Lead project operates across sub-Saharan Africa and involves public, civil society and private sector institutions.

Africa Lead seeks to ensure that there are leaders trained to maintain a critical mass of food security.

The leaders are trained to drive agriculture-led development by leading and implementing regional and national agriculture investment Plans within the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) framework.

The project is also linked to the Feed the Future (FTF) initiative, a US-government response to the global demand to advance food security.

The first phase, which began in 2010, was completed in 2013 at the cost of $30 million.

First phase

Giving the overview of the project at the launch of the second phase, the Regional Director of AL II, Ms Carla Denizard, said the first phase had trained 2,789 people across 29 countries in Africa, including Ghana, Nigeria, Mali and Senegal.

She explained that grouped in three components, the first component would focus on improving institutional and human resources capacities.

The second component, she stated, would involve institutional framework assessments and the strengthening of management for policy change and evidence-based policy analysis.

The third component would ensure the enhancement of capacity and engagement of non - state actors, including the private sector.

Deepened interventions

The acting USAID West Africa Mission Director, Mr Bradley Wallach, said the project had so far chalked up some success.

He added that the second phase would be better implemented and had been designed with effective collaboration between its partners to deepen existing interventions.

In addition, he said new approaches to capacity building had been introduced, while institutions would be strengthened to achieve inclusive economic growth and food security.