FAO Regional Office for Near East and North Africa

FAO and key private sector players outline roadmap to accelerate agrifood system transformation in NENA region

30/01/2024 , Cairo

“Today, FAO and the private sector have a shared goal – to explore innovative, scalable, and sustainable solutions for the Near East and North Africa (NENA) region,” said Beth Bechdol, FAO Deputy Director-General, during an interactive dialogue held today by FAO with key private sector players to collaborate, share insights, and collectively shape the future of agrifood systems in the region. 

The dialogue, titled “Engaging the Private Sector in Accelerating Agrifood Systems Transformation in the Near East and North Africa”, is co-organized in collaboration with the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) and the Group Business Forum (THIQAH) and held in preparation for 37th Session of the FAO Regional Conference for the Near East (#NERC37).

“Our private sector engagements going forward should bring about transformational change and have measurable, sustainable impact and broad-based benefits in support of our strategic framework,” stated AbdulHakim Elwaer is FAO Assistant Director- General and Regional Representative for the Near East and North Africa.


“From the experience gained together, I am convinced that with taking due consideration of the views of today’s private sector representatives, FAO’s Members and their policymakers may better define the actions they need to transform agrifood systems in the region,” Elwaer added.

FAO counts on strong partnerships with the private sectors to unlock opportunities for substantial investment flows, innovation and more sustainable practices with a focus on food systems development and transformation, starting from production to consumption to make these systems more efficient, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable.

“Private sector engagement will be key to agrifood systems transformation and rural development. Indeed, the power of working together in transformative partnerships is at the heart of FAO’s mission to build a world without hunger,” said Carlos Watson, FAO Senior Coordinator Private Sector Partnerships.

FAO stresses on the need to establish effective partnerships and communication channels to bridge the gap between investors and FAO initiatives. It is pivotal to establish transparent and accessible communication platforms for the private sector and FAO to engage, collaborate, and identify investment opportunities.

By advocating for supportive policies encouraging private sector investment in sustainable agriculture, we will create an enabling environment for investors and promoting long-term investments.

About #NERC37

Organized by the FAO Regional Office for the Near East and North Africa, the #NERC37 Ministerial meeting will convene in Amman, Jordan, the Host Country, during 4-5 March, with high-level representation of government ministers and leaders from across the vast region to frame a regional agreement on the way forward and joint action to achieve a sustainable agrifood system making it more fit-for-purpose and to ensure food security for millions of the region’s inhabitants.

In preparation for the Ministerial meeting, a Senior Officers’ meeting (SOM) is organized in a virtual format in February, where senior officials of member countries, partner organizations, sister agencies will meet to elaborate on regional challenges and priorities in the NENA region. These priorities will be determined through engaging roundtable and panel discussions to identify best practices to transform agrifood systems and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.