United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, has said that the US government would provide an additional $215 million in emergency food assistance in Nigeria, Algeria, Cameroon, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, among other countries.
He said the US had pledged more than $2.3 billion in food assistance since February to cushion the impact of the Ukrainian war on the benefitting countries.
A statement from the US Department of State on Wednesday disclosed that Blinken stated this before a meeting with the foreign affairs ministers of Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritania, South Africa, Zambia, and Senegal, at the United Nations headquarters in New York.
The invasion of Ukraine by Russia on February 24 led to global food and fertiliser shortage due to the inability of the two countries to export wheat, corn, cooking oil and fertilisers.
Russia had allegedly frozen the export of wheat from Ukraine.
The senior US official said, “First, we’re addressing the humanitarian needs caused by the war of aggression against Ukraine. Since February, the United States has pledged more than $2.3 billion of food assistance. And pending final approval from our Congress, we’ll provide more than $5bn in additional aid, including more than $760m specifically for global food security.
“Plus, today we’re announcing an additional $215m for emergency food assistance in Algeria, Cameroon, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Mauritania, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Kenya, among other countries.”
Blinken further said his country was working to alleviate the global fertiliser shortage by boosting domestic production. President Joe Biden committed an additional $250m just a week ago, totalling $500m invested in American fertiliser production this year.
The Secretary of State also explained that the US focused on building agricultural resilience over the long term while commending the African Development Bank on its $1bn plan to help 40m African farmers use climate-resilient technologies and increase crop yields.
Blinken disclosed that the US Feed the Future initiative, which is focused on creating long-term improvements to food security, including with partners across Africa, would be supported with another $5bn over the next three years and expand to new countries including in Africa.