(Remarks as prepared)
Madam Food Safety Commissioner,
Mr. Secretary General of MASEF,
Mr. Secretary General of TAAZOUR,
Madam Ambassador of Germany,
Madam United Nations Resident Coordinator,
Madam Resident Representative of WFP,
I am honored to be with you today to officially launch the program “Responding to Food Insecurity Linked to Global Price Hikes,” in support of the most vulnerable Mauritanians residing in urban Nouakchott.
With the launch of this program, we are seeking to assist families in need – children, and their parents. By making cash transfers to poor households, we are helping families fight hunger and malnutrition, and improve their food security.
Extreme hunger and malnutrition are a barrier to sustainable development. Food security only exists when people have access to food that is both sufficient and nutritious.
That is why the US Government’s contribution of $2 million to the World Food Program’s Food Security Program is so important. These funds will help WFP undertake a four-month cash transfer operation in urban Nouakchott, which will target 20,560 food insecure families who have been severely affected by the surge in the prices of food and other basic services, and who have also suffered as a result of the recent floods.
Under this program, food assistance will be provided in the form of monthly cash transfers to 150,000 people across the three regions and nine departments of Nouakchott. WFP will coordinate with other stakeholders including Ta’azour, the Ministry of Social Affairs, UNICEF, and UNHCR, to ensure the supervision and oversight of all distributions via field monitors.
Since the start of Russia’s unprovoked war against Ukraine, markets across Africa, including here in Mauritania, have experienced a significant increase in food and commodity prices – especially wheat, fertilizer, and oil – just as African economies strive to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. The situation puts further pressure on poor urban households who already struggle to make ends meet. That’s why the US Government has approved billions of dollars to bolster food security and humanitarian assistance worldwide, with additional emergency food assistance to Africa. The program we’re launching today is one such example.
I commend the Government of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania for taking several tax-relief measures to support various sectors and alleviate price hikes. And I thank the Government and all our partners, including the German Agency for International Cooperation and WFP, for their commitment in actively fighting to make food security a priority for Mauritanian communities in need.
Thank you for your attention.