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Vol 9 No 6

The tendency sometimes to protect perpetrators for the sake of peace...doesn't help society. Impunity should not be allowed to stand. - Kofi Annan on Waki report

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Friday May 18, 2012 - Four African leaders invited to the G8 meeting on food security by President Obama - and the smoke and mirrors President of Sierra Leone is not among those African leaders believed to be serious about ensuring food security for their people. Is there a message for President Dr Dr Dr and more Dr Ernest Bai Koroma - that the international community is becoming disenchanted with his smoke and mirrors tactics?Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete - He was in invited by the Obama administrationBasic inputs for food security and nutrition mired in corruption

Today Friday marks the beginning of the G8 2012 meeting of the world's most powerful economies to be hosted by US President Barack Obama at Camp David and today the G8 will be looking at food and nutrition security and how this can be achieved in Africa. To help this meeting of like-minded individuals concerned with food security on the continent, President Obama has thought it fit to invite four African leaders who could well be seen as serious people when it comes to achieving food security for their people.

This page gives a brief profile of the speakers at this important meeting. President Yayi Boni of Benin, the present African Union Chairman will be joined at the G8 food and nutrition security meeting by Ghana's President John Atta Mills, President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania and Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia. Under the theme - "Advancing Food and Nutrition Security at the 2012 G8 summit" this Chicago Council on Global Affairs meeting held in collaboration with the World Economic Forum will hear from, among others US President Barack Obama, the four invited Presidents, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton as well as from key interest groups and actors dedicated to making Africa really food and nutrition secured.

According to the organisers of the meeting, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs it is hoped that this meeting of similar minds - "will bring together senior global leaders to discuss new G8 efforts on food security and the opportunity and benefits of private sector investment in African agriculture and food sectors. Sessions will identify ways business, civil society, and international organizations can complement and amplify G8 action on agricultural research and innovation, markets and trade, and nutrition."

US Secretary of State Clinton did not mince her words - going straight to the point as to why President Obama and his administration are putting the emphasis on food and nutrition security.

"We know the statistics: nearly a billion people worldwide suffer from chronic hunger; 75 percent of poor people live in rural settings and depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. So by improving agriculture, we can together strike a powerful blow against both hunger and poverty. And that’s why food security is a priority of the Obama Administration. It is both the smart thing to do and the right thing to do. It is a moral imperative to help people escape hunger and poverty. It is an economic imperative to spread prosperity, create rising incomes, give people the chance to give their own children a better future. It is indeed a strategic imperative. We want to support and build up countries who have leaders like those here before you to take their rightful place of leadership regionally and globally.

In the last three and a half years, I’ve had the privilege of visiting farmers, agricultural scientists, health and nutrition experts in a number of countries. And there truly is a palpable sense of excitement that we are on our way; we are poised for the kind of breakthroughs that we haven’t seen since the Green Revolution. In fact, in several countries, we are already seeing meaningful progress. Feed the Future is working with 19 target countries, and during the past three years, those countries have increased their total food production by about 6 percent, which is 70 percent higher than the increase in food production among least developed countries. More food is available to more people, more farmers are earning higher incomes, and the ripple effects of health and prosperity are spreading despite the global economic slowdown."

President Barack Obama in his speech emphasised the need for more investment in Africa to help the continent achieve food security and nutrition. This part of his speech is bound to send tremors through the spine of the corrupt in Sierra LeoneBenin President Yayi Boni -  Chariman of the AU making a point at the meeting

"...we put the fight against global hunger where it should be, which is at the forefront of global development. And this reflected the new approach to development that I called for when I visited Ghana, hosted by President Mills, and that I unveiled at the last summit on the Millennium Development goals. It’s rooted in our conviction that true development involves not only delivering aid, but also promoting economic growth — broad-based, inclusive growth that actually helps nations develop and lifts people out of poverty. The whole purpose of development is to create the conditions where assistance is no longer needed, where people have the dignity and the pride of being self-sufficient.

You see our new approach in our promotion of trade and investment, of building on the outstanding work of the African Growth and Opportunity Act. You see it in the global partnership to promote open government, which empowers citizens and helps to fuel development, creates the framework, the foundation for economic growth. You see it in the international effort we’re leading against corruption, including greater transparency so taxpayers receive every dollar they’re due from the extraction of natural resources. You see it in our Global Health Initiative, which instead of just delivering medicine is also helping to build a stronger health system, delivering better care and saving lives."

That the smoke and mirrors President was left out of the Food and Nutrition Security at Camp David tells it all - he is no longer trusted by those who matter and do care for Sierra Leone. They have seen through his magician's act and no doubt come to the conclusion that for all his posturing, one Ernest Bai Koroma, leader of the APC could well be a charlatan. His praise singers, internet flying toilets and all, would want Sierra Leoneans and indeed the international community to believe that when it comes to food security, their god ernest bai koroma is the best thing that could have hit that patch of planet Earth called Sierra Leone - never mind making his brother a millionaire overnight after that scandalous India rice deal - which in the fullness of time, the people will know all about - more so who profited out of the misery of suffering Sierra Leoneans.

Here is a man touted as, after ringing the bell at the New York Stock Exchange or some financial institution, the US economy blossomed making President Obama come out with praise as well as standing by him in all that he does in Sierra Leone. Here is a man his praise singers would want us to believe exchanges emails and phone calls on a constant basis with President Obama after the US President ordered his details to fetch one Ernest Bai Koroma to sit beside him at a United Nations meeting - an opportunity his praise singers used as the US President's "endorsement" of his good work for the people of Sierra Leone.!!!.

Take this report from the country's Audit Service on the distribution and management of agricultural materials. In a summary, the report notes, among other issues that -

"We found that there had been serious irregularities in the procurement process for seed rice. Several of the fundamental procurement regulations had been violated and the procurement records had not been submitted to the NPPA. As a result of this the distribution of seeds came too late in the year for optimal benefits to the beneficiaries, the price paid was much higher than previous years and there were serious doubts as regards the quality of the seeds.

We also found that there were no established criteria for the distribution of inputs to districts and for seed rice, the allocation did not make any mention of what varieties of seeds should go to the respective districts. Thus there were no indications that the different ecologies were taken into account and there were no references to any needs assessments being carried out. Once the procurement of seed rice had been completed the distribution to the farmers was swift, but there were some doubts regarding the circumstances of the distribution. In at least two districts part of the seed rice was turned into cash at not even a third of the price paid by the government. In many cases the seed loan agreements that should guarantee the recovery of the seeds were not accurate.Ghanaian President Mills with President Obama

Tractors were found to be both underutilised and poorly maintained. Only about 60% were in good enough condition to be used. As regards the new tractors, the allocation to different districts appeared to be based more on requests from individual farmers than on any needs assessment."

Any wonder why the G8 meeting that wanted to hear from African leaders ignored him?

And again - we would want to know what happened at the much-publicised Times CEO summit in London - a gathering the smoke and mirrors praise singers used to sing to high heavens the unenviable record of their boss in the fields of good governance, accountability and transparency.

So why was President Dr Dr Dr Koroma not at that meeting in London to deliver his much-touted lecture of a speech on March 19, 2012?

Why was he kept away? Who advised him not to enter through the doors of that Times CEO Africa London meeting?

Time will tell and we shall know as will the suffering masses of Sierra Leone.

Update - US President Obama reveals 3bn dollar plan to boost food security and farm productivity as a new body - New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition is formed.

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©Sierra Herald 2002