Nairobi, Kenya, June 5, 2013: IFC,
a member of the World Bank Group, aims to reach one million smallholder
farmers in Africa by promoting sustainable agriculture and agribusiness
practices, a goal it today while hosting a conference in Nairobi which
brought together the private sector, donors, civil society and financial
institutions to discuss how to connect farmers to large markets, address
climate change and food security in Africa.
Agriculture accounts for nearly half
of the continent’s GDP, and employs 60 percent of the labor force. The
World Bank estimates that by 2030, if production is optimized, agriculture
could develop into a $1 trillion industry in Sub-Saharan Africa.
However, farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa
face numerous challenges that keep them from realizing the productive potential
of their land.
Sara Clancy, Manager of IFC’s Sustainable
Business Advisory in Sub-Saharan Africa, said, “Weather, pests, crop disease,
and market failures make farming an inherently risky enterprise in Sub-
Saharan Africa. To address these issues, IFC works with companies,
governments, financial institutions, and farmers themselves to promote
practices that benefit local communities, protect the environment, and
make agriculture more profitable for the farmers involved.”
IFC’s conference in Nairobi featured
discussions led by private sector leaders such as ECOM, Vegpro and BidCo;
civil society organizations such as Oxfam, as well as farmer capacity building
agencies. The participants explored strategies to engage local farmers
in larger supply chains, as well as discuss investment opportunities in
Sub-Saharan Africa. IFC and its partners are also working with farmers
to develop agricultural models that are resilient to climate change and
make the most of scarce resources, such as water.
The conference also saw the launch of
an IFC handbook on sustainable agriculture in Africa, which was distributed
to companies, donors and farmer organizations. The Financial Times,
IFC’s media partner for the conference, released in June 2013 a special
edition of their ‘This is Africa’ supplement focusing on African Agribusiness.
With demand for food expected to grow
by 70% worldwide by 2050, agribusiness is central to IFC’s strategy for
private sector development. IFC has already invested over $ 4 billion
in agriculture projects worldwide.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development
institution focused exclusively on the private sector. We help developing
countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, mobilizing
capital in international financial markets, and providing advisory services
to businesses and governments. In FY12, our investments reached an all-time
high of more than $20 billion, leveraging the power of the private sector
to create jobs, spark innovation, and tackle the world’s most pressing
development challenges. For more information, visit www.ifc.org