Somali refugees queue to be registered upon arrival at Dolo Ado camp in Ethiopia. Photo by: Cate Turton / Department for International Development / CC BY

For the first time in our lifetime, a wide range of African artists and global celebrities with a passion for Africa, have united in a call for action to break the recurring incidence of famine and extreme hunger in the Horn of Africa.

In an open letter addressed to African and world leaders, 58 artists are appealing for the implementation of a three-part plan to beat the famine in the Horn of Africa and invest in long-term solutions to avoid future food crises. This prominent group of African voices together command an audience of more than 7 million people on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.

This letter is published just before two crucial meetings:  the G-20 finance ministers meeting in Washington D.C. on Friday (Sept. 23), and a ministerial mini-summit on the margins of the U.N. General Assembly in New York on Saturday. ONE is campaigning to ensure that top of the agenda at both of these meetings are two key issues: ending the current famine and  avoiding future famines.

ONE’s members support these efforts, too. Nearly 220,000 supporters have signed a petition calling on leaders to urgently provide the full funding that the UN has identified as needed for the Horn of Africa crisis, and to keep their promises to deliver the long-term solutions which could prevent crises like this from happening again.

This is just the beginning of relentless campaigning on hunger and famine, and shining a spotlight on the opportunities of agriculture development in Africa, which ONE will be pushing throughout the next few months. Specifically, over the coming days and weeks, ONE will be advocating for three key promises from African and world leaders:

1.      Fill the remaining financing gap for emergency assistance to help people in the Horn of Africa

2.      Invest in longer-term agriculture and food security to stop the cycle of extreme hunger

3.     Encourage a prominent and formal role for civil society in the peace-seeking process to stop the cycle of instability in the region

This will be tough given the state of finances of many economies. But what could be more important than preventing future  famines and ending hunger and its causes?

That’s why we at ONE are working with advocacy partners on a charter to end extreme hunger. This charter, along with the African artist letter, and ONE’s petition, will be presented to the gathering of leaders coordinated by the U.N. on Saturday.

Some 80 percent of Africans depend on subsistence agriculture to ensure their families have something to eat. Investing in agricultural productivity in Africa gives Africans a real chance to lift themselves out of poverty. This is a cause worth fighting for.

About the author

  • Dr. Sipho S. Moyo

    Dr. Sipho Moyo is ONE's Africa director. Sipho previously spent 12 years with the African Development Bank, working in in four different departments and four countries including Tanzania and Nigeria. She has served in the World Bank's office for the MENA region as well as U.N.-Habitat in Nairobi and the International Fund for Agricultural Development in Rome.