Remarks of MCC Deputy CEO Alexia Latortue at World Bank Spring Meeting Event, Financing SDG2: Addressing Hunger and Malnutrition in the Wake of COVID-19

Hunger is an emergency, and it exists even for some communities in the United States.  

In a world of plenty, this is unacceptable. MCCas one of the three U.S. bilateral aid agenciesis striving to do its part, and we have invested more than $5 billion to address the many sources of food insecurity. 

How do we do this? 

MCC works with our partner countries to address binding constraints to economic growthSo, when we address water for agriculture, for example, to spur economic growth and improve food security, we take a holistic approach, including infrastructure investments, technical assistance, and policy reform. We need to look at food systems broadly. 

Our investments cover a wide range of projects that target transportationstorage, infrastructure, irrigation systems, access to finance, farmer training, nutrition, and sanitation.  

Beyond investments, we promote policy and institutional reforms with the aim of sparking systemic transformation that can build resilience to prevent future crises.  

For example, In Niger, MCC is supporting fertilizer reform, moving from a public sector model that results in shortages and low fertilizer use, to a private sector model that will be more responsive to farmers’ needs. 

COVID-19 has eroded 20 years of global poverty reduction and has pressuretested the global value chain with serious impacts on global health and food systems.  

Our long-term challenge is to improve the resiliency of our global food systems and to promote climate-smart agricultureMCC is creating incentives along the agricultural value chain so that farmers adopt new climate-smart approaches and technologies 

In Tunisia, for example, MCC will invest in the rehabilitation of irrigation infrastructure while supporting producer cooperatives to catalyze new water-saving technology and help farmers diversify their revenue streams away from raw agricultural production.  

As the Minister from Canada eloquently said, our interventions must also take inclusion and gender into account because economically empowering women leads to outsized benefits in family nutrition.  

How do we finance these ambitions? 

Collective action is needed and we each have our roles.  

Our host, the World Bank Group, for instance has a strong role among other multilateral partners.  Specifically, we believe that IDA financing for nutrition actions across health, social protection and food systems will be invaluable and hope to see strong commitments in these areas as part of the IDA20 replenishment, as noted by Japan as well. GAFSP, as our colleague from Germany said, is another important tool. 

As a member of Feed the Future, MCC uses our “high quality money”—large, predictable multi-year grants—to advance this agenda. We also collaborate with USAID on food security and nutrition. And we work with the Development Finance Corporate on blended finance instruments to bring innovation and scale to our programs.  As the head of IFAD, Gilbert Hungbo, and I often discuss, farming is fundamentally a private sector activity and we need to bring in private finance. The Minister from Rwanda made this point as well. 

So, if I can leave you with three messages, they are: 

A holistic approach. Wcannot delink SDG2 from other issuesclimate adaption and resilience and social inclusion must be at the heart of our solutions. 

It is about financing, but also policy and institutional reforms.  

We need to bring in the private sector as a partner to meet this challenge. 

Thank you.