UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
USA: Africa Seeds of Hope Act Date distributed (ymd): 990205 Document reposted by APIC
Region: Continent-Wide Issue Areas: +economy/development+ +US policy focus+ Summary Contents: This posting contains an update from Bread for the World and excerpts from the text of the "Africa: Seeds of Hope Act," passed in last year's Congress as a result of lobbying by Bread for the World and allied groups. Although the Act did not appropriate any new funds, it mandates greater attention to African small farmers in U.S. government programs, and requires a report to Congress within six months on its implementation.
[APIC note: coming soon ... more on new Africa bills.]
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AFRICA: SEEDS OF HOPE--WHAT WILL IT DO?
Refocus Resources On Agriculture And Rural Development
Increasing agricultural productivity is the engine of economic development in agricultural economies. Agricultural productivity improvement and rural development are also the most effective ways to improve conditions for poor people. Yet, development resources increasingly go to urban needs. During the past decade, the proportion of USAID's support for the agriculture sector has dwindled from 36% of its Africa Bureau budget to less than 15%. Whereas in 1985, there were 258 professional agricultural project staff, today there are only 75.
The Africa: Seeds of Hope Act supports USAID's Africa Food Security Initiative to refocus US resources on agriculture and rural development, increasing productivity, which will lead to higher rural incomes and improved food security. It also emphasizes the critical importance of consulting with rural poor people in designing, conducting and evaluating development programs.
Provide A Necessary Complement To Trade And Investment Initiatives
"Unfortunately, there are some on Capitol Hill who believe trade liberalization alone can remedy all of Africa's woes. And equally wrongheaded are those views in the non-governmental organization community that believe that trade liberalization will only hurt Africa's poor. The Africa: Seeds of Hope Act bridges these disparate and unnecessarily conflicting ideologies with a reconciling view. That view is that liberalized trade plus targeted foreign assistance toward Africa's small farmers can best help sub-Saharan Africa prosper." --Rep. Doug Bereuter
Introduce Innovative Development Strategies
New Outlets For Microcredit
Microenterprise programs make credit accessible to low-income people, stimulating small enterprise development. USAID has consistently directed microcredit assistance at small businesses across a range of sectors except agricultural production. The Africa: Seeds of Hope Act requires USAID to develop a comprehensive plan for providing microenterprise assistance in sub-Saharan Africa and to initiate new microcredit efforts to improve the capacity and efficiency of agricultural production.
New Investment Relationships
The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) is an independent government corporation that promotes United States private investment in developing countries and emerging markets. It has historically worked solely with US corporations investing abroad.
The Africa: Seeds of Hope Act encourages OPIC to expand its operations to US businesses, nongovernmental organizations, and private voluntary organizations that work directly with African rural populations. OPIC can support rural development in Africa by extending its services, including loans, guaranties, and insurance, to organizations, such as the African Development Foundation, Africare, Agriculture Cooperatives Development International, TechnoServe, Winrock International, and others, that directly serve the needs of women, small farmers, and small rural entrepreneurs.
This novel structure for private investment, based on the concept of participatory development, acknowledges the importance of farmer-owned business organizations in promoting African development and provides the institutional support necessary for them to prosper.
Coordination Of Agricultural Research
The Africa: Seeds of Hope Act requires USAID and USDA to develop a plan to coordinate the work of US land-grant universities, international agricultural research centers, and national agricultural research and extension centers in sub-Saharan Africa. Current national expenditures on agricultural research are typically less than 1% of agricultural GDP.
Therefore, in addition to benefiting the participating US institutions, it will help develop the capacities of African researchers and extension agents and agricultural educational and research institutions and will contribute to the development of sustainable agricultural practices that increase the productivity of small-scale African farmers.
Enhancement Of Private Enterprise In African Agriculture
The Africa: Seeds of Hope Act supports private producer-owned cooperative purchasing and marketing associations and strengthens the capacity of sub-Saharan African farmers to participate in national and international private markets. It encourages USAID to facilitate partnerships between US and African cooperatives and private businesses to enhance the capacity and technical and marketing expertise of African farmer-owned businesses.
Flexibility In Title II Nonemergency Food Aid
The Africa: Seeds of Hope Act directs USAID to be more flexible in allowing food aid resources to be used in a variety of programs that help improve the health, living conditions and incomes of poor people in developing countries. Nongovernmental organizations can receive government support in developing programs that best meet local needs and provide aid to the "poorest of the poor".
Response To Emergency Food Crises
The Africa: Seeds of Hope Act establishes the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust, a self-replenishing emergency grain reserve for foreign assistance.
The Trust is an innovative response to the need for a faster, more cost-effective mechanism to provide food assistance during humanitarian crises. It enables the USDA to purchase commodities for overseas emergencies in advance when prices are low instead of waiting for emergencies when commodity prices may be high. The Trust helps US farmers by buying commodities.
With the Trust in place, US private voluntary organizations will be assured of fast access to resources when an international emergency arises. Governments of the crisis countries will have increased confidence in their ability to effectively respond to the food needs of their people, thus discouraging vulnerable citizens from becoming refugees. In short, by allowing for a timely response to food emergencies, the Trust will provide increased security for those living under the threat of famine in Africa and elsewhere in the world.
The Africa: Seeds of Hope Act mandates that six months after its enactment, USAID submit to Congress a report on the agency's plans and progress toward implementation of the key provisions of the Act. This gives advocacy groups and other development organizations the ability to monitor the progress of its implementation. The Act is a framework for collaboration between the business, government and civil society organizations that share permanent interests in sustainable African development. It can provide a useful focus for grassroots education and Africa constituency building efforts.
Excerpts from H.R. 4283 (full text available at http://thomas.loc.gov)
H.R.4283 An Act To support sustainable and broad-based agricultural and rural development in sub-Saharan Africa, and for other purposes.
SEC. 2. FINDINGS AND DECLARATION OF POLICY.
(a) FINDINGS- Congress finds the following:
(1) The economic, security, and humanitarian interests of the United States and the nations of sub-Saharan Africa would be enhanced by sustainable, broad-based agricultural and rural development in each of the African nations.
(2) According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, the number of undernourished people in Africa has more than doubled, from approximately 100,000,000 in the late 1960s to 215,000,000 in 1998, and is projected to increase to 265,000,000 by the year 2010. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, the term "under nutrition" means inadequate consumption of nutrients, often adversely affecting children's physical and mental development, undermining their future as productive and creative members of their communities.
(3) Currently, agricultural production in Africa employs about two-thirds of the workforce but produces less than one-fourth of the gross domestic product in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the World Bank Group.
(4) African women produce up to 80 percent of the total food supply in Africa according to the International Food Policy Research Institute.
(5) An effective way to improve conditions of the poor is to increase the productivity of the agricultural sector. Productivity increases can be fostered by increasing research and education in agriculture and rural development.
(6) In November 1996, the World Food Summit set a goal of reducing hunger worldwide by 50 percent by the year 2015 and encouraged national governments to develop domestic food plans and to support international aid efforts.
(7) Although the World Bank Group recently has launched a major initiative to support agricultural and rural development, only 10 percent, or $1,200,000,000, of its total lending to sub-Saharan Africa for fiscal years 1993 to 1997 was devoted to agriculture.
(8)(A) United States food processing and agricultural sectors benefit greatly from the liberalization of global trade and increased exports.
(B) Africa represents a growing market for United States food and agricultural products. Africa's food imports are projected to rise from less than 8,000,000 metric tons in 1990 to more than 25,000,000 metric tons by the 2020.
(9)(A) Increased private sector investment in African countries and expanded trade between the United States and Africa can greatly help African countries achieve food self-sufficiency and graduate from dependency on international assistance.
(B) Development assistance, technical assistance, and training can facilitate and encourage commercial development in Africa, such as improving rural roads, agricultural research and extension, and providing access to credit and other resources.
(10)(A) Several United States private voluntary organizations have demonstrated success in empowering Africans through direct business ownership and helping African agricultural producers more efficiently and directly market their products.
(B) Rural business associations, owned and controlled by farmer shareholders, also greatly help agricultural producers to increase their household incomes.
(b) DECLARATION OF POLICY- It is the policy of the United States, consistent with title XII of part I of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, to support governments of sub-Saharan African countries, United States and African nongovernmental organizations, universities, businesses, and international agencies, to help ensure the availability of basic nutrition and economic opportunities for individuals in sub-Saharan Africa, through sustainable agriculture and rural development.
TITLE I--ASSISTANCE FOR SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA
SEC. 101. AFRICA FOOD SECURITY INITIATIVE.
(a) ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS IN CARRYING OUT THE INITIATIVE- In providing development assistance under the Africa Food Security Initiative, or any comparable or successor program, the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development--
(1) shall emphasize programs and projects that improve the food security of infants, young children, school-age children, women and food-insecure households, or that improve the agricultural productivity, incomes, and marketing of the rural poor in Africa; (2) shall solicit and take into consideration the views and needs of intended beneficiaries and program participants during the selection, planning, implementation, and evaluation phases of projects; (3) shall favor countries that are implementing reforms of their trade and investment laws and regulations in order to enhance free market development in the food processing and agricultural sectors; and (4) shall ensure that programs are designed and conducted in cooperation with African and United States organizations and institutions, such as private and voluntary organizations, cooperatives, land-grant and other appropriate universities, and local producer-owned cooperative marketing and buying associations, that have expertise in addressing the needs of the poor, small-scale farmers, entrepreneurs, and rural workers, including women.
(b) SENSE OF THE CONGRESS- It is the sense of the Congress that, if there is an increase in funding for sub-Saharan programs, the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development should proportionately increase resources to the Africa Food Security Initiative, or any comparable or successor program, for fiscal year 2000 and subsequent fiscal years in order to meet the needs of the countries participating in such Initiative.
SEC. 102. MICROENTERPRISE ASSISTANCE.
(a) BILATERAL ASSISTANCE- In providing microenterprise assistance for sub-Saharan Africa, the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development shall, to the extent practicable, use credit and microcredit assistance to improve the capacity and efficiency of agriculture production in sub-Saharan Africa of small-scale farmers and small rural entrepreneurs. In providing assistance, the Administrator should use the applied research and technical assistance capabilities of United States land-grant universities.
(b) MULTILATERAL ASSISTANCE-
(1) IN GENERAL- The Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development shall continue to work with other countries, international organizations (including multilateral development institutions), and entities assisting microenterprises and shall develop a comprehensive and coordinated strategy for providing microenterprise assistance for sub-Saharan Africa. (2) ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENT- In carrying out paragraph (1), the Administrator should encourage the World Bank Consultative Group to Assist the Poorest to coordinate the strategy described in such paragraph.
SEC. 103. SUPPORT FOR PRODUCER-OWNED COOPERATIVE MARKETING ASSOCIATIONS.
(a) PURPOSES- The purposes of this section are--
(1) to support producer-owned cooperative purchasing and marketing associations in sub-Saharan Africa; (2) to strengthen the capacity of farmers in sub-Saharan Africa to participate in national and international private markets and to promote rural development in sub-Saharan Africa; (3) to encourage the efforts of farmers in sub-Saharan Africa to increase their productivity and income through improved access to farm supplies, seasonal credit, technical expertise; and (4) to support small businesses in sub-Saharan Africa as they grow beyond microenterprises.
(b) SUPPORT FOR PRODUCER-OWNED COOPERATIVE MARKETING ASSOCIATIONS-
(A) IN GENERAL- The Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development is authorized to utilize relevant foreign assistance programs and initiatives for sub-Saharan Africa to support private producer-owned cooperative marketing associations in sub-Saharan Africa, including rural business associations that are owned and controlled by farmer shareholders.
(B) ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS- In carrying out subparagraph (A), the Administrator--
(i) shall take into account small-scale farmers, small rural entrepreneurs, and rural workers and communities; and (ii) shall take into account the local-level perspectives of the rural and urban poor through close consultation with these groups, consistent with section 496(e)(1) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2293(e)(1)). ...
SEC. 104. AGRICULTURAL AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES OF THE OVERSEAS PRIVATE INVESTMENT CORPORATION.
(a) PURPOSE- The purpose of this section is to encourage the Overseas Private Investment Corporation to work with United States businesses and other United States entities to invest in rural sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in ways that will develop the capacities of small-scale farmers and small rural entrepreneurs, including women, in sub-Saharan Africa.
(b) SENSE OF THE CONGRESS- It is the sense of the Congress that--
(1) the Overseas Private Investment Corporation should exercise its authority under law to undertake an initiative to support private agricultural and rural development in sub-Saharan Africa, including issuing loans, guaranties, and insurance, to support rural development in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly to support intermediary organizations that--
(A) directly serve the needs of small-scale farmers, small rural entrepreneurs, and rural producer-owned cooperative purchasing and marketing associations; (B) have a clear track-record of support for sound business management practices; and (C) have demonstrated experience with participatory development methods; and
(2) the Overseas Private Investment Corporation should utilize existing equity funds, loan and insurance funds, to the extent feasible and in accordance with existing contractual obligations, to support agriculture and rural development in sub-Saharan Africa.
SEC. 105. AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH AND EXTENSION ACTIVITIES.
(a) DEVELOPMENT OF PLAN- The Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, in consultation with the Secretary of Agriculture and appropriate Department of Agriculture agencies, especially the Cooperative State, Research, Education and Extension Service (CSREES), shall develop a comprehensive plan to coordinate and build on the research and extension activities of United States land-grant universities, international agricultural research centers, and national agricultural research and extension centers in sub-Saharan Africa. ...
************************************************************ From: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: Fri, 5 Feb 1999 09:52:06 -0500 Subject: USA: Africa Seeds of Hope Act
Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar, email@example.com