Subregional Office

 

 for Eastern Africa (SFE)

 

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Investment in Agriculture

The SFE shares and applies FAO's technical knowledge at the sub-regional level in response to expressed needs of the countries.  It implements and coordinates FAO's field activities in close cooperation with FAO technical departments and country offices, as well as member countries and FAO's development partners particularly donors, UN agencies, financing institutions, Regional Economic Organizations and NGOs.

SFE also manages and mobilizes resources for emergency rehabilitation and development programmes and is responsible for promoting greater investment in agriculture.  It assists SFE countries in the formulation and implementation of policies and strategies and serve as a facilitator for development projects and provides funding from the FAO core budget for projects that address urgent sub-regional problems.

SFE actively promotes investments by governments and donors in agriculture.  Investment in agriculture is an essential element of poverty eradication and sustainable development particularly as 90% of the sub-region's poor live in rural areas.  In addition to resource mobilization for sub-regional projects and programmes, SFE helps countries to formulate effective investment policies and to prepare projects and programmes that can then be funded by International Financing Institutions (IFIs) and bilateral donors with co-financing from local resources.

SFE works closely with banks and governments in the formulation of the agricultural sector components of Poverty Reduction Strategies which have become a pre-requisite for countries seeking World Bank concessional loans and grants and International Monetary Fund assistance and shape the portfolios of all financing institutions and donors.

In some cases, SFE, through the FAO Investment Centre, carries out agricultural sector reviews and develops sectoral investment policy and strategy frameworks. Most of the Centre's activity, however, is related to specific investment projects scheduled for financing by IFIs - designing them, assessing their technical and economic viability and their potential environmental and social impact, and subsequently helping with implementation and evaluation.  Much of this work is now concentrated in Sub-Saharan Africa, where there are major challenges facing agriculture and rural development. SFE is increasingly involved in resource mobilization and often engages with donors directly at individual country level. SFE's overall aim is to strengthen the capacities of countries to carry out this work themselves, to increase the flow of external and domestic resources into and agriculture and rural development to help ensure that funds mobilized for investment in the rural sector are used effectively.

SFE works closely with its counterparts in countries to complement national expertise.  Alliances among national development partners - including local governments, market agents, other value-chain participants and beneficiary groups - are increasingly recognized as key factors for a project's sustainable impact on the economy. In countries with well-established capacity, the Centre provides guidance to specialist inputs, while in countries with fewer skilled people; it delivers more comprehensive services and works to build capacity through on-the-job investment training.