Congress Approves Resolution Calling For Additional Aid For Africa, Leadership From President

Bread for the World
Wednesday, 5 December 2001

Anti-hunger leader points to President's call for "real progress against poverty"

Following a year of intense grassroots lobbying, Congress has overwhelmingly approved a bipartisan proposal calling for significant new development assistance to sub-Saharan Africa and for President Bush to work with African and 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 U.S. House of Representatives Wednesday morning, by a vote of 400 to 9, passed the Africa: Hunger to Harvest resolution (H. Con. Res. 102), which is authored by Reps. Jim Leach (R-Iowa) and Donald Payne (D-N.J.) and has 155 bipartisan cosponsors. The counterpart Senate version of the Hunger to Harvest resolution was sponsored by Sens. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and was approved unanimously in July. Aid programs would be focused on agriculture, health, education, small business development and debt relief.

Bread for the World president David Beckmann pointed to President Bush's July speech to the World Bank as reason to hope for increased funding for poverty-focused development assistance in next year's budget. "Bread for the World members worked hard all year to reach this milestone. Next year, with Administration support for poverty-fighting aid, we could indeed make real progress against hunger in the world," said Beckmann.

"World poverty is ancient, yet the hope of real progress against poverty is new." -President George W. Bush, July 17, 2001

Rep. Payne and other members said the passage of this resolution signaled Congressional support for the comprehensive, African-led revitalization initiative called the "New Partnership for African Development." During remarks on the House floor, Payne said "what Congress will do in enthusiastically passing the Hunger to Harvest Resolution is joining our G-8 partners and the World Bank in expressing support for the long-term development initiatives of African governments as expressed in the New Program for African Development announced by Presidents Mbeki of South Africa, Obasanjo of Nigeria, Wade of Senegal, and Bouteflika of Algeria. "

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 debt relief. The national anti-hunger organization has determined that for a annual commitment of $4 billion from the G-8 nations -- the U.S. share being $1 billion, or approximately a penny a day per American -- the U.S. could lead a global effort to cut world hunger in half by 2015.

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