Rome – The emerging food, energy & financial crisis, the aftermath of the pandemic & exacerbation of the situation due to the war in Ukraine, & climate change are pushing more people into extreme poverty & hunger.
These are unsettling & uncertain times. But what is certain is the urgent need to transform agrifood systems to be more efficient, inclusive, resilient & sustainable.
This is the context in which the Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’ (FAO) Investment Centre has delivered its full range of investment support to member countries in 2021. The latest edition of the Centre’s Annual Review, issued today, looks at some of these achievements.
“The FAO investment Centre is the go-to place for our Members as well as public institutions, the private sector, farmers & financing institutions, to turn to for sustainable agrifood investments & finance solutions,” wrote FAO Director-General QU Dongyu in his foreword to the Annual Review.
“We want to expand our outreach to more investors, working strategically across the Organization to scale up investment & for the Investment Centre to become an investment & finance support hub for our member countries,” the Director-General added.
Collaboration with longstanding partners like the World Bank, the International Fund for Agricultural Development & the European Bank for Reconstruction & Development – & strong mobilization of FAO teams around the world – continued to yield impressive results in 2021.
The Centre helped design 42 public investment projects in 37 countries approved by international financing partners for around $7.2 billion – up from the previous year’s $6.6 billion. Navigating COVID-19 constraints, the Centre also continued to support countries with policy work as well as implementation support on 245 ongoing public investment projects in 91 countries, amounting to $42.6 billion collectively.
The Centre contributed to 20 agricultural strategies, 26 policy studies, 24 sector studies & 21 policy dialogues & events.
A transformative period
FAO Investment Centre Director Mohamed Manssouri noted that the Centre is now in a transformative period, backed by a significant influx of resources & the ambitious vision of the Director-General.
“We aim to become a stronger, more dynamic & forward-thinking Centre – the place member countries & investors turn to for sustainable agrifood investment & finance solutions,” he said.
This transformation is known colloquially as ‘4+2’. It focuses on four main solutions that support strategic investment planning & policy, public investment, private investment & innovative finance, along with the two companion solutions of knowledge for investment & capacity development for investment.
Since last year, the Centre has added a geographic service for Central & West Africa & one for Latin America & the Caribbean – a move that will allow it to strengthen its work in each region.
In the coming years, the Centre will intensify its country focus & outreach, strengthen, expand & diversify its partnerships & engage in more strategic collaboration across FAO to scale up agrifood investment. The goal is to better serve the critical needs of countries, working through financial partners & also with member countries directly.
FAO’s Hand-in-Hand Initiative & the analysis from the large-scale food systems assessments & national dialogues carried out in 2021 provide good policy & investment entry points for transforming agrifood systems.
The Centre will also continue to evolve with the investment landscape as it seeks to increase public & private agrifood investment flows & build more resilient & greener agrifood systems. That means expanding its work in areas such as effective agrifood logistics & food distribution, climate, green & blue finance, impact investing, dedicated de-risking & blended financing instruments, & financial technologies.
& it will continue to grow the body of its Knowledge for Investment (K4I) products, bringing the latest knowledge, thinking & innovations from FAO & beyond for better agrifood investment.
“FAO’s leadership is inviting us to think big – to look for fresh ways to help end hunger & malnutrition, reduce inequalities & preserve the environment,” Manssouri said.
“I am confident that together we can turn this transformation into a reality & help countries realize a better tomorrow.”
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