Obama announces $3 billion in pledges for food security initiative

"Today, I can announce a new global effort we're calling a New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition. And to get the job done we’re bringing together all the key players around a shared commitment," said Obama at the Symposium on Global Agriculture and food security.

The goal of the initiative, which is linked to this weekend's G-8 summit, is to lift 50 million people out of hunger and poverty within a decade by investing in modern agricultural methods and technologies.

The president announced that 45 companies, including international corporations and African companies, have pledged more than $3 billion to kick-start the effort.  

Obama emphasized that despite a tight fiscal environment, the United States is committed to making investments in development. However, he called for a strategy that would create greater sustainability and make emergency aid less necessary.

"As president, I can assure you that the United States will continue to meet our responsibilities," he said.

Obama called the investment a moral imperative for the United States as the wealthiest nation in the world, but also pointed out the economic and security advantages of creating more stable access to food.

He told the audience that no where is it more evident than Africa that security risks will grow if instability stemming from hunger isn't stopped. 

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and rock star and philanthropist Bono were also in attendance at the symposium. 

Obama acknowledged the famed singer before his remarks, and joked that the U2 front man was his inspiration for singing at the Apollo Theater in New York City in January, according to pool reports.

Read more on the alliance for food security on The Hills' Global Affairs blog.