24 October 2023, Rome: The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations(FAO) have joined forces to further strengthen their commitment to sustainable agriculture programmes in sub-Saharan Africa. The first agreement between the two institutions was acknowledged last Friday at FAO headquarters in Rome when FAO’s Director-General QUDongyu and EIB’s Vice-president Gelsomina Vigliottimet on the sidelines of the World Food Forum.
Concretely, the EIB, the bank of the European Union, will provide €1.4 million to FAO to deliver technical assistance for the preparation and implementation of climate-resilient sustainable agriculture programmes in sub-Saharan Africa, which is particularly vulnerable to climate-related risks.
Drawing on FAO’s expertise and convening power, the EIB will enhance and expand its agrifood and bioeconomy lending pipeline in the regions, contributing to greater food security, better incomes for farmers, women empowerment, and job creation.
A particular emphasis will be on supporting small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) and smallholder farmers through financial intermediaries while also allowing for the possibility of engaging with both the public and private sector for agrifood value chain development.
FAO, through its Investment Centre, will support pre-investment activities and the design of investment projects in food and agriculture to be financed by the EIB.
The agriculture and bioeconomy sectors – the latter entailing the use of renewable biological resources from land and sea to produce food, materials, and energy – are strategically important for the EIB in catalysingeconomic development, reducing poverty and tackling climate change. Between 2014 and 2022, the Bank’,stepped up its support to agriculture and the bioeconomy outside the European Union. Throughout this timeframe, the EIB supported, directly and via financial intermediaries, projects for €6.3 billion across the agricultural, fisheries, food, and forestry value chains.
FAO Director-General QU Dongyu welcomed the agreement, saying: “FAO and the EIB share a commitment to finding innovative and impactful solutions for greener, more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable agrifood systems in sub-Saharan Africa. Together, we will work to boost investment in labour intensive industries and ensure that no one is left behind.”
Gelsomina Vigliotti, EIB Vice President, commented: “This partnership represents a significant stride in advancing sustainable agriculture. By combining resources, knowledge, and commitment, the EIB and FAO aim to build a more resilient, sustainable, and equitable future.”
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