June 17, 2024

Ireland Takes the Lead in Combating Global Hunger, Partners with USAID to Improve Food Security in Africa

Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International development Samantha Power
Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International development Samantha Power

Administrator Samantha Power of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) praised Ireland’s leadership in the fight against global hunger in an opinion editorial published in The Irish Times. Power noted that Ireland has emerged as a global leader in food security, dedicating 20% of its budget to combatting hunger and malnutrition. She also announced a new partnership between USAID and Irish Aid to improve long-term food security in sub-Saharan Africa, starting in Malawi.

The partnership will help agriculture companies and smallholder farmers diversify their production with crops that are more nutritionally valuable, profitable, and better for the environment. This investment will help communities prepare for or, hopefully, avert the next food crisis. Power added that Ireland has significantly increased its overall aid budget to combat the growing development needs, nearly doubling its official development assistance since 2017.

Power highlighted the importance of Ireland’s leadership in the past year when Vladimir Putin’s illegal invasion disrupted global food systems, exacerbating a particularly dire crisis in Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Djibouti. Communities in the Horn of Africa are living through their sixth failed rainy season in a row, their longest stretch of drought in recorded history. Fields have lain barren, and eleven million livestock have died, causing a spike in suicides among men who had never done anything other than care for their flocks.

Last year, the United States announced that it would boost its investments in treating severe malnutrition by an unprecedented $200 million, or roughly €180 million, and called on others around the world to donate a further €225 million. Ireland stepped up to commit €50 million, inspiring other countries and philanthropies to donate nearly €271 million in new commitments.

Power warned that while famine has thus far been avoided, millions are still not getting the food they need. David Beasley, the former executive director of the World Food Programme, recently sounded the alarm, saying that “we literally could have hell on earth if we’re not very careful.” Power concluded by stating that Ireland remembers the devastation that will result if the world fails to respond, and the global community cannot avert its gaze.

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