G8 Alliance: Corporate boogeyman or vehicle to smallholder empowerment?
Thursday, June 20, 2013
Launched just over a year ago, the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition is a global partnership formed by G8 governments, the private sector and African leaders with the goal of lifting 50 million people out of poverty by 2022. The combination of donor commitments, private sector investments and policy reforms by African governments are setting conditions for public-private partnerships to spark agriculture transformation.
But civil society organizations have argued that PPPs are not a suitable instrument for supporting family farms, which represent the basis of African food security. More recently, this chorus has gotten louder with warnings about the New Alliance facilitating land grabs, a new wave of colonialism and an imperialist scramble for Africa.
As G8 leaders gather in Northern Ireland this week, they must not only counter this narrative but go further to demonstrate how the role of the private sector in the New Alliance is empowering smallholder farmers.
According to the New Alliance Progress Report, the initiative is making a positive impact on the ground.
Ninety-one percent of donor commitments have been dispersed on time and more than half the $3 billion in private sector investments have broken ground. Out of the 97 policy commitments pledged, 55 are underway and 27 have been completed, from the expansion of a warehouse receipts system in Ethiopia to the provision of seeds and fertilizer to women farmers in Burkina Faso to other achievements in Ghana, Tanzania, Mozambique and Côte d’Ivoire.