Remarks at Witnessing of Signing of Chevron USAID Memorandum of Understanding
Secretary of State
With the signing of this Memorandum of Understanding, we are making a down payment on the future, the revitalization of small and medium holder farming in Angola. This $6 million investment will help raise the income of Angolans, turn back hunger, and drive sustainable development. It will bolster Angola’s efforts to rebuild a once vital agricultural sector destroyed by war, which again can be a source of broad-based prosperity.
Equally important is a model of the global architecture of cooperation we are building through partnership with and beyond government. The partnership between USAID, Chevron and CLUSA represents a new approach to development assistance on the part of the Obama Administration. While we will continue to provide emergency food aid to address immediate crises, we are focused on helping countries build mechanisms that sustain progress in agriculture over the long term.
One key element of that strategy in Angola and across Africa will be to (inaudible) small holder farmers to provide access to credit and financial support, to pursue initiatives that link farmers to (inaudible) facilities and markets, (inaudible) strategies that preserve natural resources, and extend the benefits of research and technical assistance to increase crop quality and yields.
President Obama pledged $3.5 billion for agriculture development and food security at the recent G-8 meeting (inaudible). In addition, other G-8 nations pledged $17 billion in funding, for a total of more than $20 billion.
Helping small farmers in Africa is not only about giving those farmers a better life by increasing (inaudible) local production of food and jobs and therefore economic development in the countries of Africa like Angola. It also helps the rest of the world, because most of the arable land left in the world is on the African continent. Countries in Africa that are now importing food can become exporters. Countries that cannot now feed themselves will once again be able to do so.
And nowhere is the promise of agriculture as a key to a diversified economy greater than right here in Angola. Angola has 16 million people in a country that is twice the size of Texas. It has nearly half the water that is available in southern Africa. So agriculture is one of the areas that I know the Government of Angola – and we have the minister of agriculture with us – is working on to provide more opportunities for the people of Angola.
And so, again, let me thank and congratulate CLUSA, Chevron, and USAID for their partnership on this issue. Let me especially thank Chevron for recognizing that it is important to give back to the countries where the natural resources come from. So now let me ask the partners to sign the Memorandum of Understanding. I will witness it, along with the foreign minister, the minister of petroleum, and the minister of agriculture. The minister of energy is also here. So we have many witnesses (inaudible) this very important partnership. (Applause.)