Agriculture Secretary Vilsack announces new global open data partners and measures to enhance U.S.-Africa trade at Africa Leaders Summit

Farm Forum

WASHINGTON – Last week, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack joined President Obama, members of Congress and other U.S. government officials to welcome African heads of state and government leaders for the first-ever Africa Leaders Summit. At the Summit, Vilsack announced four new partners in the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) initiative and up to $1 billion in export credit guarantees that will enhance trade between the U.S. and Africa. The export credit is a part of President Obama’s Doing Business in Africa Campaign. The Ghana Open Data Initiative, Sierra Leone, IBM and Kellogg Company will join over 100 GODAN partners who work to make agricultural and nutritional data available, accessible and useable for unrestricted use worldwide.

“At its core, this Summit is about fostering stronger ties between the United States and Africa,” Vilsack said. “USDA looks forward to further partnering with African nations through the GODAN initiative, and with the new trade opportunities that new financing guarantees will make possible.”

Launched in October 2013, GODAN supports efforts to make agriculturally and nutritionally relevant data available for public global use. Open data on agriculture, nutrition and food systems can be a powerful tool for long-term sustainable development by improving the economic opportunities for farmers and the health of all consumers. The initiative encourages collaboration and cooperation among existing agriculture and open data activities, and brings together all stakeholders to solve long-standing global problems. GODAN is the first global open data initiative spanning public and private entities including donors, international organizations and businesses.

Through the Doing Business in Africa Campaign, the U.S. government is strengthening its commercial relationship with the continent of Africa, a diverse region that offers substantial trade and investment opportunities across national and regional markets. The campaign encourages U.S. commercial engagement in Africa by harnessing the resources of the U.S. government to assist businesses in identifying and seizing opportunities and to engage with members of the African Diaspora in the United States. USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation will make available up to $1 billion in financing guarantees to export U.S. agricultural commodities to Africa over the next two years. The Department, which currently works with nine eligible banks in 49 African countries, will also conduct outreach seminars to Africa in 2015 to promote the use of its credit guarantee program for the export of U.S. agricultural products.

The U.S.–Africa Leaders Summit is a historic opportunity to strengthen ties with our African partners and highlight America’s longstanding commitment to investing in Africa’s development and its people. USDA collaborates with its partners in Africa to help strengthen connections between the U.S. and African agriculture sectors and to work towards common goals. USDA implements programs and activities across the continent in a wide range of areas, including food security, trade capacity, investment, climate-smart agriculture, school attendance and literacy, and open data systems.