254. Memorandum From the Assistant to the President for Policy Development (Svahn) and the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Poindexter) to Multiple Recipients1


  • U.S. Support for Ending Hunger in Africa

The President has determined that the U.S. should act more forcefully to help end hunger in Africa.2 Unless African governments adopt growth policies, the African people will continue to face the threat of starvation, the world will face political unrest which can breed insurgency and the cost of relief and maintaining U.S. interests in Africa will increase. An economically stable and self-reliant Africa will promote U.S. national security interests as well as humanitarian objectives.

Sub-Saharan Africa has witnessed unparalleled economic decline in both food production and income per capita in recent years. This [Page 682] decline has occurred despite increased economic assistance and resource flows over the past decade. The adoption of incentive policies by African governments can encourage broad-based growth, stimulate food production and alleviate the poverty which is the root cause of hunger in Africa.

The President’s policy goal for U.S. economic assistance to Sub-Saharan Africa will be implemented by:

Establishing a common goal for U.S. bilateral and multilateral economic programs and policies: End hunger in Sub-Saharan Africa by the end of the century through economic growth and private enterprise development. This goal is to be met by promoting the growth of the private sector and by orienting U.S. economic policies and programs to that end. Since the responsibility for adopting incentive policies and programs rests with governments, the level of aid provided to individual countries will be directly related to their willingness to adopt incentive policies and private sector programs.

Promoting donor coordination on comprehensive structural adjustment and policy reform as well as assistance programs. Other donors provide more than 80 percent of non-emergency assistance to Africa. Building on the Bonn and Tokyo Summits,3 the IMF Trust Fund and the U.N. Special Session on Africa,4 the U.S. should invite other donors to join in a coordinated and concerted effort to help Africa achieve the goal of ending hunger through economic growth and private enterprise development.

Mobilizing U.S. public opinion. Americans are eager to continue to help Africa. Publicizing efforts to end hunger through growth and private enterprise development would expand public interest and support for Africa. The U.S. corporate sector should be encouraged to become involved through a private initiative for Africa.

A Task Force to Help End Hunger in Africa has been established to implement the President’s Africa Initiative. The Task Force will be jointly chaired by Peter Rodman, Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security and Michael Driggs, Special Assistant to the President for Policy Development.

The Task Force will prepare a report to the President on how to implement the Africa Initiative. The Task Force will consider actions already taken in response to the President’s goal, as well as make recommendations for further action. A National Security Study Directive (attached at Tab A)5 will serve as the basis of the Task Force report. The Task Force report will be completed by December, 1986.

[Page 683]

You are invited to designate a member of your staff, of at least the level of Assistant Secretary, to serve on the Task Force to Help End Hunger in Africa. Please provide the name of your Representative to the NSC Directorate of African Affairs [number not printed] by COB, Thursday, September 25, 1986.

  • John A. Svahn
  • John M. Poindexter
  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, Office of the Deputy Director for Intelligence, Job 93T01142R: Policy Files (1982–1987), Box 1, Folder 14: Hunger in Africa. Unclassified. Sent to Bush, Shultz, Baker, Weinberger, Lyng, Baldrige, Miller, Casey, Yeutter, McPherson, Wick, Ruppe, Bohn, and Nalen.
  2. See Document 251.
  3. See footnote 3, Document 251.
  4. See footnote 4, Document 252.
  5. Not attached. Printed in Document 255.