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USAID, Walmart Sign MOU To Work Together On Development Programs

USAID, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation “signed on Monday a Memorandum of Understanding expected to integrate the world’s largest retailer’s supply chains with the Feed the Future program,” Devex reports. “While it remains unclear whether the MOU establishes any binding commitments for either party, the partnership is expected to focus on President Barack Obama’s global hunger and food security initiative taking advantage of Walmart’s resources to better distribute food around the world,” the news service writes (Igoe, 9/10). The MOU aims to “improve livelihoods around the world by promoting women’s economic empowerment, sustainable agriculture, environmental sustainability and vocational and life skills training for youth,” a USAID press release states. “We are excited about this latest landmark in our relationship with Walmart. Our global partnership is emblematic of USAID’s new model of development and our commitment to work with private sector companies to end extreme poverty around the world,” USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah said at a ceremony held at Walmart’s Bentonville, Arkansas, headquarters on Monday, the press release notes (9/9). According to Devex, “The partnership is likely to come under intense scrutiny in light of concerns over Walmart’s failure to pay decent wages in Latin America or retailers sourcing from a garment factory in Bangladesh where 112 people died in a fire in November 2012” (9/10).