Supporting Responsible Investments in Agriculture and Food Systems (RAI)

Learning programme results in action plans to enhance responsible investments in agriculture in the Senegal River Basin Region


The learning programme “Creating an enabling environment for responsible investment in agriculture and food systems”, which benefitted 28 policy makers from Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, and Senegal, has resulted in the development of national action plans that will guide the process to increase responsible investment in agriculture needed in the region. 

The achievement of the first two SDGs – the eradication of poverty and hunger – in the Senegal River Basin countries requires more than 6 USD billion additional annual responsible investments in agriculture and food systems. Strengthening the enabling environment, which constitutes the main determinant of the quantity and quality of agricultural investments, is essential in this context.

In order to support policy makers to enhance the enabling environment for responsible agricultural investments in their own countries, FAO, with support from Initiative Prospective Agricole et Rurale (IPAR), organized a two-phase blended learning programme, combining online, face-to-face and mentoring activities. 

Three key topics: the approval process for investments, consultations, and youth

As part of the second phase of the programme, a face-to-face workshop was held in Nouakchott from 27 to 31 January following several weeks of online collaborative activities.

The workshop provided the opportunity to examine in depth the three key topics that participants identified as crucial to enhance responsible investment in their countries. First, strengthening investment approval and facilitation processes; second, ensuring that consultations during the investment design and approval phases are inclusive and effective; and third, maximizing the impact of public investments for young agri-entrepreneurs.

In this context, the need for more coherent frameworks regarding investment approval processes, as well as a better coordination among stakeholders was recognized as a shared concern for the participants of the learning programme.  

"The idea is to find a much more concerted framework that will bring together all the actors and respect the CFS Principles for responsible investment in agriculture and food systems, in connection with food security,” asserted Amadou Cheick Traoré, National Director of the Agriculture Directorate in Mali. 

“To improve the investment approval process, we must build the capacity of actors who must participate so they can express their real needs,” said Mariam Senou, technical advisor of the Ministry of Agriculture of Mali. 

The learning programme also provided the opportunity to outline actions related to supporting young agri-entrepreneurs. The focus was on expanding the impact of public investments for young agri-entrepreneurs by increasing access to information on existing programmes; offering more adequate financial services; and supporting the youth to organize themselves.

A success case that was presented was the Model for the Integration of Young Agri-entrepreneurs (MIJA), which supports young people in the agri-food sector in Senegal through integrated platforms. 

“MIJA provides agricultural services while facilitating access to markets serving both as business incubators for youth and production platforms. This kind of initiatives encourages young people to stay on the land and live from farming,” said Cherif Abdou Khadre Djelani Ndiaye, Director of Strategy and Operations at the National Agency for the Promotion of Youth Employment in Senegal.

Follow up on country action plans

FAO and IPAR will follow up with the participants throughout a mentoring period to refine their action plans and provide technical advice. In addition, participants have set up a WhatsApp group facilitated by FAO to continue the discussions, knowledge sharing, and mutual support.

Looking ahead, beyond this mentoring period, Irina Buttoud, FAO Representative in Mauritania asserted: “We will work with the government, the Ministries and the participants to follow-up and to make progress together on the implementation of the action plans”.

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