World Bank head: Act now on food prices

Zoellick said the Development Committee endorsed his call for a "New Deal for Global Food Policy" that would aim to boost agricultural productivity in poor nations, improve access to food through schools or work places and help small farmers.

He said earlier this month the bank would nearly double the money it lends for agriculture in Africa from $450 million to $800 million.

Zoellick said he had received positive feedback from his proposal to have sovereign wealth funds — huge pools of capital controlled by governments — invest one percent of their resources in Africa. He said this could draw $30 billion to African growth.

He said the bank was following up the proposal in discussions with countries that have sovereign wealth funds, mainly in Asia and the Middle East, through the International Finance Corporation, the bank's private sector arm.

"Hunger, malnutrition and food policy have formed a recurrent theme at this weekend's meetings, and I believe that we have made progress," Zoellick said. "But it will be important to continue to retain the focus on this as we leave Washington."

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