House Panel Approves Resolution Calling on Bush, Congress to Boost Aid to Africa

Bread for the World
Friday, 2 November 2001

Proposal Requires Quick Action By President, Says Anti-Hunger Leader

The U.S. House of Representatives' International Relations Committee last night unanimously approved a bipartisan proposal calling for significant new development assistance to Africa and for President Bush to work with other world leaders to dramatically reduce hunger and poverty on the continent. The proposal also requests President Bush report back to Congress with five- and 10-year plans for increasing development assistance and reducing hunger in Africa.

The Hunger to Harvest resolution (H. Con. Res. 102), sponsored by Reps. Jim Leach (R-Iowa) and Donald Payne (D-N.J.) and 153 bipartisan co-sponsors, calls for significant new poverty-focused development assistance to sub-Saharan Africa. Aid programs would be focused on proven areas like agriculture, health, education, small business development and debt relief. The counterpart Senate version of the Hunger to Harvest resolution was sponsored by Sens. Hagel (R-Neb.) and Leahy (D-Vt.) and was approved unanimously in July.

"In this time when Congress is understandably preoccupied with the war on terrorism, it's especially encouraging to see its leaders step forward to make a new commitment to poor and hungry people in Africa," said Bread for the World president David Beckmann. "President Bush should follow up this Congressional commitment to Africa with a comprehensive plan to fight hunger and poverty there."

The legislation—the genesis being Bread for the World's research and the focus of its grassroots advocacy—also cites the value and potential of U.S. trade to sub-Saharan Africa: the United States holds approximately $13 billion in investments in sub-Saharan Africa, more than in the Middle East or Eastern Europe, and total U.S. trade with sub-Saharan Africa exceeds that of the entire former Soviet Union.

Members of BFW have generated more than 150,000 letters to members of Congress as part of its 2001 national grassroots campaign to increase poverty focused assistance to sub-Saharan Africa by $1 billion, including the debt relief package. The national anti-hunger organization has determined that for a U.S. commitment of $1 billion per year—a penny a day per American—world hunger could be cut in half by 2015.

For more information, or to contact Bread for the World, see their website at: www.bread.org

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