From 23 to 24 October 2008, FAO participated in the First International Agrarian Investment Forum in Astana, Kazakhstan, which was organized to bring together investors, agricultural producers, state bodies and support institutions. The Forum was attended by 450 participants from 25 countries, representing Ministries of Agriculture, FAO, international financing institutions, large private companies, and domestic agribusinesses, banks, branch unions and associations.
During the Forum, Charles Riemenschneider, Director of FAO’s Investment Centre, signed on behalf of FAO, two Memoranda of Understanding with the Eurasian Development Bank (EDB) and Kazakhstan’s national corporation KazAgro.
EDB is an international financing institution with a charter capital of USD 1.5 billion. It was established by the Russian Federation and the Republic of Kazakhstan in January 2006 to foster economic growth and integration processes in the Eurasian region. Its main strategic objective is to facilitate the development of market economies in member states, ensure their sustainable economic growth, and promote the expansion of trade and economic cooperation. EDB has provided financing for development projects in the amount of USD 605 million, and is working to expand its loan portfolio into the agriculture and agribusiness sectors. FAO’s Investment Centre and EDB management have been discussing possible cooperation activities since December 2007 and have pre-identified a number of potential investment initiatives.
KazAgro is a state-owned corporation established to implement public investment in agriculture and rural development and to provide support to private investment.
The new cooperation agreements with EDB and KazAgro will allow FAO to establish beneficial partnerships with emerging financing institutions well rooted in the countries of the region and committed to increasing lending to agriculture and rural development. These partnerships will also allow FAO to diversify its options for promoting investment in the region and enhance its responsiveness to individual country needs. Activities will range from preparation and design to implementation and evaluation of investment programmes and projects.