EIB and FAO bolster sustainable agriculture and food production programmes in sub-Saharan Africa
23 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 QU Dongyu and EIB’s Vice-president Gelsomina Vigliotti met 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 catalysing economic 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.”
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It finances sound investment contributing toward EU policy goals. EIB Global carries out EIB’s operations outside the EU. As a key partner in the EU’s Global Gateway, we aim to support at least €100 billion of investment by 2028, one third of the strategy’s target. With offices across the world, EIB Global is close to local people, firms and institutions, and fosters strong Team Europe partnerships with development finance institutions.
The FAO Investment Centre works to deliver investment and finance solutions that promote inclusive economic growth, better diets and nutrition, greater equity and climate resilience. The Centre provides a full suite of investment support services to FAO Member states, working in over 120 countries. It partners with governments, national and international financing institutions, the private sector, research institutions, academia and producer organizations to help countries achieve lasting impact at scale.
Highlighting a renewed global interest in agriculture, the EIB expands its collaboration with FAO aimed at broadening and deepening investment in agriculture in countries outside of the European Union.
The EIB announced the launch of a new financing initiative that aims to unlock close to €1.6 billion of investment in the agriculture and bioeconomy sector. The financing aims to support private companies operating throughout the value chains of production and processing of food, bio-based materials and bioenergy. It will be guaranteed by the EU budget under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), which forms the financial pillar of the “Investment Plan for Europe”.