EBRD President says private sector crucial to achieve food security

By Nibal Zgheib

Vegetables - EBRD President says private sector crucial to achieve food security

Sir Suma Chakrabarti attends Finance for Food conference in Milan on World Food Day

Private sector engagement in delivering a global development agenda for the next generation will be crucial in the drive to combat hunger and ensure food security, EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti said today.

Sir Suma was speaking at a Finance for Food conference in Milan that was taking place on World Food Day -- on the 70th Anniversary of the founding the UN’s  Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

It was also attended by Italian Minister of Economy and Finance, Pier Carlo Padoan, International Fund for Agricultural Development President Kanayo F. Nwanze, ‎FAO Director General, Graziano Da Silva, United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, and the President of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella.

Sir Suma told the conference that rolling out the new Sustainable Development Goals – including food security and nutrition -- “requires a global partnership between the private and public sectors”.  

“We welcome the fact that the new Agenda acknowledges the private sector as crucial for the SDGs’ success and recognises private finance as the main channel for mobilising global resources,” he added during a discussion panel on investment in agriculture.

The EBRD would continue to make significant investments‎ in private agribusinesses and to provide stable, long-term finance for food and nutrition, he told the conference.

The Bank would also strongly promote policies that foster a green agri-economy. It was possible to unlock agricultural production potential while cutting back on the use of energy and other natural resources. 

The EBRD already places a very high priority on its agribusiness investments, which have totalled nearly €10 billion since it was founded.

In 2011 – together with the FAO – the Bank launched its Private Sector for Food Security Initiative, a programme that ensures that the private sector can contribute fully to food security in the EBRD region.

Separately in Milan, Sir Suma addressed the heads of leading Italian corporations and encouraged them to invest jointly with the EBRD in its countries of operations, in central eastern and south eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.

He placed a particular focus on investment opportunities in the EBRD’s new southern and eastern Mediterranean region. The EBRD has been investing in Egypt, Morocco, Jordan and Tunisia since 2012.

In a later meeting Finance Minister Padoan, who is also the current chair of the EBRD’s Board of Governors, and Sir Suma discussed ways of enhancing the Bank’s activity in its countries of operations.