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USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah Announces 20 Feed the Future Initiative Focus Countries
April 25, 2010


April 24, 2010
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – APRIL 24, 2010 – At a high-level nutrition roundtable today co-hosted by Canada, Japan, the United States, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the World Bank, USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah announced the 20 focus countries of the U.S. Government’s Feed the Future, initiative that targets the causes of hunger and aims to reduce poverty, hunger, and undernutrition.

“One billion people worldwide are hungry,” noted Dr. Shah. “Each year, inadequate nutrition contributes to 3.5 million deaths among children under five. Undernutrition robs the developing world of critical human capital and capacity, and undermines other development investments in health, education, and economic growth. It also perpetuates the cycle of poverty and hunger by leading to poor health, lower levels of educational attainment, and reduced productivity and lifetime earnings.”

In 2008, the Lancet identified just 36 countries that are home to 90 percent of all children whose growth was stunted for lack of adequate food. Based on this global burden of undernutrition and other criteria that examined the prevalence and dynamics of poverty, country commitment, and opportunities for agriculture-led growth, the 20 Feed the Future focus countries are: Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia in Africa; Bangladesh, Cambodia, Nepal, Tajikistan in Asia; and Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, and, Nicaragua in Latin America.

These countries experience chronic hunger and poverty in rural areas and are particularly vulnerable to food price shocks. At the same time, they demonstrate potential for rapid and sustainable agriculture-led growth, good governance, and opportunities for regional coordination through trade and other mechanisms. USAID will work with strategic partners Brazil, India, Nigeria, and South Africa to harness the power of regional coordination and influence in these focus countries.

President Obama has requested the support of Congress to more than double USAID’s nutrition assistance in 2011 in these countries. This dramatic increase in funding signifies our country’s commitment to scale up nutrition interventions.

Feed the Future will build upon strong existing foundations to make improvements in global health, poverty reduction, and the overall development of our focus countries. In order to achieve high-level impact and long-term sustainability, all partners in the country—from national and local government to civil society to the private sector—need to converge around a comprehensive country-led approach to improve nutrition.

Feed the Future also represents an opportunity to harness the contributions of civil society and bolster private sector investments to spur economic growth, agriculture sector growth, and improved nutrition in food insecure countries. Private sector engagement and investment are fundamental for making markets sustainable and accessible to the very poor.

Addressing undernutrition is key to both the President’s Global Health Initiative (GHI), and Feed the Future.