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Ghana's Oil for Food Initiative

Jonathan Scanlon, Senior Advocacy Advisor, Oxfam America, Seattle, WA

Monday, October 20, 2014 from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM (PDT)

Ghana's Oil for Food Initiative

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Oxfam America, Global Washington, and Seattle University's Poverty Education Center invite you to a panel discussion in celebration of World Food Day 2014.

**UPDATE: U.S. Congressman Adam Smith (WA-9) will provide opening remarks**


More than one quarter of Ghana's population lives in poverty, with rates of poverty particularly high among smallholder farmers, especially women. These farmers represent 60 percent of the population of Ghana, though too often their perspectives are not considered in policy decisions regarding resource allocation. 


That was, until last November, when a remarkable breakthrough occurred.


Last year a coalition of farmers and civil society groups in Ghana successfully petitioned the government to commit 15 percent of its oil revenues to agriculture in the 2014 budget. In November 2013 more than 100 farmers marched to Parliament to deliver 20,000 petitions. Under the government's new pledge the largest share of the agriculture budget - 94.5 percent - will be allocated towards agricultural initiatives that alleviate poverty for small-scale farmers.


Ghana's oil exports are expected to generate an average of $1 billion USD in government revenue per year for the next 20 years. The Oil for Food initiative represents a major improvement over the previous distribution of oil revenues and could significantly impact the livelihoods of thousands of small-scale farmers in Ghana.


Come hear from some of the people who helped make Oil for Food happen and are monitoring the implementation of this new program. Is it working? Are oil revenues reaching smallholder farmers? What are the lessons for oil revenue management in other countries?

Opening remarks:

  • U.S. Congressman Adam Smith, Washington's 9th District 

Our panel will include the following guests:

  • Mohammed Amin Adam, Executive Director, Africa Center for Energy Policy
  • Victoria Adongo, Program Coordinator, Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana
  • Ian Gary, Senior Policy Manager for Extractive Industries, Oxfam America
  • Moderator: Dr. Benjamin Curtis, PhD, Director of the Poverty Education Center and Assistant Professor, Matteo Ricci College, Seattle University

Panel bios

Victoria Adongo is Program Coordinator at the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG). PFAG works to increase investment in small-scale women agriculture through programs involving credit, subsidized fertilizer and seeds, land rights, and extension services. Ms. Adongo has a Master's Degree in Developmental Studies and a B.A. in Sociology and Political Science. During her career she has worked to improve access to HIV/AIDS medication, helped people living with HIV/AIDS, and has campaigned for fair trade. 

Mohammed Amin Adam is Executive Director of the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) in Accra, Ghana. He holds a PhD from the University of Dundee specializing in fiscal policy options in resource rich economies. Before joining ACEP, he was the coordinator of the pan-African extractive industries program for the Danish non-governmental organization IBIS. He has also worked as the Oil Coordinator for Publish What You Pay - Ghana. His experience in the public sector includes work as an Energy Policy Analyst with Ghana's Ministry of Energy, Commissioner of Ghana's Public Utilities and Regulatory Commission, and as Deputy Minister and Mayor of the city of Tamale, Ghana.

Ian Gary is Senior Policy Manager for Extractive Industries at Oxfam America, where he directs the organization's policy and advocacy work on transparency and accountability issues in the oil and gas industry. He authored Oxfam's report Ghana's Big Test: Oil's Challenge to Democratic Development (2009) and has co-authored many other reports and papers on the oil and gas sector in the developing world. Prior to joining Oxfam in 2005, Gary was the strategic issues advisor on extractive industries at Catholic Relief Services from 1999 to 2005. He has held positions with the Ford Foundation, as well as with international development organizations in the US and Africa. Gary has testified before Congress in support of legislation that requires payment and contract disclosure in the oil, has, and mining industry, and he has given presentations at venues including the World Bank, Royal Institute of International Affairs, United Nations, US State Department, and Harvard University. Gary is a frequent commentator in the media including The New York TimesThe Washington PostFinancial Times, BBC, and NPR. He holds an MA in the politics of international resources and development from the University of Leeds.

Dr. Benjamin Curtis, PhD is Assistant Professor and Director of the Poverty Education Center at Seattle University's Matteo Ricci College. Curtis is a professor of politics of history and the founding director of Seattle University's Poverty Education Center, which is dedicated to promoting more effective teaching about poverty at all levels of instruction. His next book is Understanding Global Poverty: Causes and Solutions, forthcoming in 2015. He spends part of every year in the Balkans guiding tours for Rick Steves' Europe, one of America's leading travel companies. Curtis was educated at Middlebury College, the London School of Economics, and the University of Chicago.

U.S. Congressman Adam Smith has Represented Washington's 9th Congressional District since 1997 and is a lifelong resident of the district. He graduated from Fordham University in 1987, and earned his law degree from the University of Washington Law School in 1990. Adam was a state senator prior to becoming a member of Congress. In Congress, Adam is a leader of the centrist House New Democrat Coalition and aggressively seeks innovative, market-based solutions to our country's challenges. Since serving in Congress, Adam is the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, and has been appointed to the House Intelligence Committee, the House International Relations Committee, which enables him to serve on the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific. Adam sees a clear need to reform our foreign assistance and improve these two pillars of national security that have been under-resourced and underutilized for too long. He has supported efforts to reform American foreign assistance, introduced legislation to address global poverty, and created the bipartisan Congressional Caucus for Effective Foreign Assistance (CCEFA) with Congressman Ander Crenshaw. He is committed to a foreign policy strategy that encourages democracy and human rights around the world and maximizes America's national security.
Have questions about Ghana's Oil for Food Initiative? Contact Jonathan Scanlon, Senior Advocacy Advisor, Oxfam America, Seattle, WA

When & Where

Seattle University Student Center Building, Room 160, Seattle, WA 98122

Monday, October 20, 2014 from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM (PDT)

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Jonathan Scanlon, Senior Advocacy Advisor, Oxfam America, Seattle, WA

Oxfam America is a global organization working to right the wrongs of poverty, hunger, and injustice. As one of the 17 members of the international Oxfam confederation, we work with people in more than 90 countries to create lasting solutions. Oxfam saves lives, develops long-term solutions to poverty, and campaigns for social change.

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