On April 4, 2017, Wilson Center Africa Program Director Dr. Monde Muyangwa moderated an Africa Policy Forum hosted by Representative Karen Bass (D-CA), Ranking Member of the House Subcommittee on Africa, and Representative Gregory Meeks (D-NY), Ranking Member of the House Subcommittee on Europe and Eurasia, who are both co-Chairs of the Congressional Black Caucus Africa Taskforce.

The event addressed current food insecurity and the famine crisis in Somalia, South Sudan, and northeastern Nigeria. As Rep. Bass said “We can’t just sit back and say 20 million are at risk of starvation and that our country will not play a role.” The forum featured a panel of experts including Gen. William “Kip” Ward, President of the SENTEL Corporation; Mr. John Prendergast, Founding Director of The Enough Project; and Mr. Jon Brause, Director of the World Food Programme (WFP) Washington office. The panel discussed the scope of the crisis and highlighted the urgent need for Africans and the international community, including the United States, to move quickly to mobilize resources and action to prevent massive loss of life. The event also addressed the causes and drivers of the crisis, as well as short and long-term policy recommendations for the international community to better assure food security in these countries. These include poor governance, violent conflict, and insufficient development. The panelists agreed that the United States has a key role to play because of its global leadership, its values, and because stability and security in the affected regions also benefits the United States.