Ahead of the meeting, African Union Commission chief Jean Ping urged Africans to "act out against hunger by providing both cash and in-kind support for urgent life-saving assistance to our brothers and sisters in the Horn of Africa".
Now the AU is being asked to take on very different tasks - like co-ordinating peacekeeping missions in Sudan and Somalia. But tackling the worst famine Somalia has faced in modern times is a problem on an altogether different scale.
The response so far has been too little, too late - a point highlighted by callers to the BBC. Many feel their leaders care little for the plight of the poor. African presidents in the past became become notorious for hoarding funds for their personal use.
Asha Rose Migiro, the UN's deputy secretary general, told the conference that "the future of an entire generation hangs in the balance".
"We are still not reaching all the people who need help, and the crisis still has not peaked. The cost in human suffering will rise even higher. We must do all that we can to stop the acceleration," AFP news agency quotes her as saying. READ FULL STORY