Yaounde – Cameroon, 16th June 2014
The Representative of the World Food Program,
Members of International Organizations,
Members of Non Governmental Organizations,
Members of the Civil Society,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Accept greetings from Dr. and Mrs. Foretia in Atlanta, Georgia USA. When they created the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation it was because they believed that as Cameroonians, we must actively participate in transforming our economic and social dispensation. That is why the mission of the Foretia Foundation is to catalyze our economic transformation by focusing on social entrepreneurship, science and technology, innovation, public health and the implementation of progressive policies that together creates economic opportunities for all. As an independent, research-driven think tank, the Nkafu Policy Institute at the Foundation leads the way in providing in-depth, insightful and innovative policy prescriptions on developmental issues within the region.
They have committed their personal resources and have pledged to continue to leverage the financial and technical resources of friends, colleagues, local institutions, national and international partners especially developmental agencies to ensure that within the next decade thousands experience upward social mobility.
Ladies and gentlemen, today is World Hunger Day. Even though everyone deserves the right to eat, 842 million, one eighth of the world’s population live in extreme hunger and poverty and exist on less than $1.25 a day. In our world today, hunger kills more people than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. Millions of women, men and children die each year because of chronic persistent hunger.
The situation in Cameroon is alarming. In the last five months, the situation has progressively worsened. According to the WFP, more than 90 000 people have crossed the border between the CAR and Cameroon, 80% of them women and children are in dire need of food and nutritional assistance. Young children are hardest hit by malnutrition. The WFP is implementing emergency measures to feed vulnerable families and fight malnutrition which is proving fatal. This situation is unfortunately gradually turning into dire humanitarian crises.
During the Sahel drought of 2012, Cameroon like other countries in the region, suffered considerably. Due to this, high pressure was put on the northern populations, and according to statistics, 400,000 people required immediate food assistance. When heavy rains came during the rainy season several months later, the result was severe flooding, affecting over 60,000 people in the north and far-north regions. Households and plantations were damaged, forcing many families to abandon their homes, exposed to severe food and water crisis that led to chronic cholera outbreaks.
By the end of 2013, 3 million people, representing about 15.7% of the total population of Cameroon had insufficient food in quality and quantity. This situation in Cameroon therefore is simply a microcosm of what is happening around the world from Africa to South Asia and Latin America. Of the thousands who live in hunger and poverty, 10 percent are suffering from famine or from the high profile emergency crises that we are sadly all too familiar with.
Persistent hunger is not only caused to lack of food but also people’s lack of opportunity to earn a considerable income, obtain education and skills, and civic inclusion. This annual event and its purpose of celebrating and finding sustainable solutions to end hunger and poverty should be a clarion call to a change in development paradigm to all policy makers in the continent which of course starts with all of us here seated. As one of our missions, we at the Denis & Lenora Foretia Foundation identify and support positive actions taken in an effort to end hunger. I’m sure you would agree with me that many of us in our beautiful homes with plenty of food to eat can’t image what it would be like to live in an internally displaced people’s camp in Batouri, East Cameroon or to be in the streets, rummaging in dustbins for what to eat.
I take this opportunity to welcome you all to the Foretia Foundation today and as we celebrate this year’s edition of World Hunger Day, I trust the Foretia Foundation cements this new partnership with the various NGOs, CSO, government agencies, international organizations, ladies and gentlemen here present, to kick out hunger from our society so that together we will show our solidarity and support to enable many to end their own hunger and poverty and make the journey to self-reliance.
Long live the Foretia Foundation,
Long live the Republic of Cameroon.
Obed Fung, Director
Denis & Lenora Foretia Foundation