By Muhidini Michuzi
 
President Jakaya Kikwete, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia, Ghana's President John Atta Millls and President Yayi Boni of Benin, chairman of the African Union, on Saturday went down into  history books Saturday May 19, 2012  as the first African leaders to attend a G-8 summit at Camp David in Maryland, USA.

The event, whose host US President Barak Obama hailed as remarkable, saw the world leaders devoting the  working lunch to food security.

Held in the Laurel Lodge, the session was a follow-up to the President Obama's Friday announcement of a ten-year, $3 billion partnership plan for public-private agricultural investments in Africa.

In addition to the G8 leaders and the four African leaders, there were also six executives from some of the 45 US and African corporations that have partnered for the New Alliance for Food and Nutrition.

President Obama said he believes it is the first time private sector representatives - who included PepsiCo chief Indra Nooyi - have attended a session at any G8 Summit.

Seated at a long rectangular table between Ghana's President John Atta Millls and President Yayi Boni of Benin, Chairman of the African Union, President Obama, in his shirtsleeves, said the group will be "looking for a range of innovative ideas”.

President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania and Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia sat across them. Other leaders present were Stephen Harper, the Prime Ministerof Canada, President Fran├žois Hollande of France  and Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Others were  Italy's Prime minister Mario Monti, the Prime Minister of Japan Yoshihiko Noda, Prime Minister of Russia Dmitry Medvedev and the Prime Minister United Kingdom David Cameron

"What makes this remarkable is this is probably the first time at a G8 Summit where in addition to having the leaders involved, we also have leaders of NGOs and business leaders involved," President Obama said.

"My goal is to have a very open conversation...and my hope is that coming out of this meeting, we are then going to be able to then each of us have assignments that we have to execute before the next G8 Summit."

The New Alliance builds on the L'Aquila Food Security Initiative, a $22.billion effort created in 2009 by G8 leaders, led by President Obama.

According to the the White House, attendees from the US private sector included Nooyi, Chair and CEO of PepsiCo and Mr. Michael Mack, CEO of Syngenta International AG.

From Africa: Tidjane Thiam, Cote d'Ivoire group CEO of Prudential; Dr. Donald Kaberuka, President of African Development Bank Group; Dr. Eleni Gabre-Madhin, Ethiopia, CEO and founder of Ethiopia and Commodity Exchange.