African Union: "Unite or Starve"
I can't really argue with this: if it means bargaining with a collective continental market in order to get a better deal on necessities, then so be it. SInce the various AU nations have such different agendas, both with the West and with each other, it's hard to predict how this will play out.
Experts say poor harvests, high fuel costs and rising demand, especially from fast-growing Asian nations, mean one billion people worldwide are now threatened by hunger.
"This sharp increase (in basic food prices) has had a particularly negative effort on African countries," Jean Ping, chairman of the AU Commission, told AU foreign ministers meeting in Egypt.
"In the medium and long term, the Commission proposes measures to regulate speculation, the sharing of public cereal stocks, strengthening the financing of imports and reliable food aid, promoting investment in social protection and increased investment to boost agricultural production."
Commodity prices have doubled over the last couple of years and the World Bank says that 100 million people risk joining the 850 million already going hungry. The United Nations says food output must double by 2050 to meet demand.
Ping did not give details of his proposals, but he said it was crucial African countries negotiate with the West with one voice on the food crisis, as well as on soaring energy costs.
He said an AU summit in Mozambique in 2003 had instructed his commission to coordinate Africa's stance in the current round of World Trade Organisation (WTO) talks, which he said were crucial to avoiding commodity price shocks in the future.
But he said that these had not been completely successful -- especially the thrashing out of controversial Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the European Union.