U.S. President Barack Obama has invited the leaders of Ethiopia, Ghana, Tanzania and Benin to attend the Group of Eight summit of major economies later this month in the United States.
White House spokesman Jay Carney says Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, Ghana's President John Mills, Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete and Benin President Yayi Boni, who is the current chairman of the African Union, will attend the summit for a discussion of food security on May 19 at the U.S. president's mountain retreat – Camp David in Maryland.
The Group of Eight holds a summit each year of the leaders of eight of the world's largest economies – the United States, Canada, Japan, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Russia. The host of each year's summit frequently invites other leaders for an expanded discussion of specific issues.
Last month, the United States announced it is providing nearly $200 million in additional humanitarian aid to the Horn of Africa, where a lack of rain is again threatening food supplies.
The White House said the new aid is designed to prevent the food crisis from escalating in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia. It says poor rains in the region “are expected to have a significant negative impact on crop production.”
Last year, the Horn suffered through a severe drought that triggered famine conditions in parts of southern Somalia. Thousands of Somalis died and tens of thousands more fled to camps in Mogadishu or refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya, in search of food and water.
The United States says it has provided more than $1.1 billion in humanitarian aid to the Horn since the crisis began in 2011.