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G-8 allies with private sector on agricultural development

Leaders of the G-8 countries issued an official communique Saturday committing them to continued support for Third World agricultural development and food security and established an alliance with private sector companies that have committed to spend $3 billion on agricultural development programs in Africa.

Microsoft entrepreneur Bill Gates who leads the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation praised the announcement, but also said that the G-8 needs to make sure private sector efforts succeed.

The G-8 needs to “put in place clear, actionable targets and accountability mechanisms to ensure these efforts are meaningful," Gates said in a statement posted on the foundation website.

Sam Dryden, Gates Foundation director of agricultural development, added in a blog, “We need to make sure all these efforts add up to address the needs of smallholder farmers.

“When we work together to give them the tools they need, that’s when we’ll see real impact," Dryden said.

The G-8 also issued an accountability report on how countries lived up to their pledges on global food security made in 2009 at the L'Aquila summit in Italy. The Camp David Accountability Report assesses the three years’ progress since L’Aquila.