Washington, DC – On the eve of an historic trip to India, international humanitarian agency Oxfam called on President Obama to ensure that the US does its part to help the world’s poor benefit from economic growth.
President Obama’s trip highlights India's role in eliminating poverty - both in India and in the rest of the world. India faces huge challenges with poverty and hunger: a third of the world’s poorest people live in India. But India also has reduced poverty and hunger and can teach lessons to other countries. With a fast-growing economy and emerging global influence, India can become a global leader in the cause of eliminating global poverty.
“With his first official visit to India, President Obama is recognizing what Nehru called our own “tryst with destiny” and the remarkable progress we have made as a nation,” said Nisha Agrawal, CEO of Oxfam India. “More and more Indians have been able to decide the destiny of their lives, demanding that institutions be held responsible to us and the guarantees to use our rights. This exercise of power has contributed to over 400 million Indians lifting themselves out of poverty over the last 25 years. We still have a long journey ahead, but Oxfam India is heartened to know that President Obama shares this commitment with us.”
Countries like India, as well as Indonesia, are increasingly seen as primary actors on the global stage who have development success stories to tell. President Obama's new Global Development Policy, outlined in September at the United Nations, looks to countries like India to provide evidence and increasing leadership to overcome poverty.
“The US cannot ‘do’ development for others, people develop themselves,” said Raymond C. Offenheiser, president of Oxfam America. “On this historic trip, we will be looking to President Obama to demonstrate US leadership by supporting the efforts of people and their governments to meet their own development challenges, holding each other accountable for progress toward long-term development goals.”
From agriculture to transparency, from intellectual property rights to climate change, Oxfam urged President Obama to harmonize US policies that affect poor people in support of their own development goals and seek partnership with emerging economies. In fact, despite all of its successes, half of India’s children are malnourished and maternal deaths statistics rival those in many states higher than sub-Saharan Africa.