The United Nations estimates the number of malnourished people in the world has risen in the past two years and is expected to top 1.02 billion this year. The global recession is expected to make 103 million more go hungry. The World Bank estimates that the gross domestic product of developing countries, except for China and India, will decline by 1.6 percent this year, with fragile African countries being the most at risk.
These dire statistics and Obama's first visit to Ghana as president has the potential to once again make aid to Africa a cause celebre.
As Bono wrote Friday in an op-ed in The New York Times: "The not-so-good news -- that countries like Italy and France are not meeting their Africa commitments -- makes the president's visit all the more essential. ... The president can facilitate the new, the fresh and the different. Many existing promises are expiring in 2010, some of old age and others of chronic neglect. New promises from usual and unusual partners, from the G-8 to the G-20, need to be made -- and this time kept."