10 Billion USD Africa and Middle East SAFE initiative launched for food security

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, DECEMBER 3, 2023 — Countries and Institutions from Africa and the Middle East joined forces under the facilitation of the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) to officially introduce the groundbreaking “Africa and Middle East SAFE Initiative.” This landmark initiative endeavors to Scale-up Agriculture and Food systems for Economic development in Africa and the Middle East and aims to benefit millions of people whose livelihoods are threatened by the climate crisis.

The Africa and Middle East SAFE Initiative, a groundbreaking USD 10 billion public-private partnership, represents collaborative efforts to tackle the urgent issues of food security, climate change, and rural livelihood vulnerability. Emphasizing the centrality of food security in COP28 discussions, the initiative demonstrates a dedicated commitment to advancing sustainable development and resilience in Africa and the Middle East through comprehensive and holistic strategies.

During the launch event, government and institutional representatives expressed strong support for the initiative, underlining its significance in addressing critical issues on a regional scale. “We cannot approach the food security problem without a comprehensive approach. It is rare to find a program like the SAFE initiative, which will bring economic development in a multi-dimensional way, bringing public and private sectors together,” H.E. Khaled Mahdi, Secretary General, Supreme Council for Planning and Development, State of Kuwait remarked.  “There is an urgent need to ease access for developing countries to climate finance and technology, and in particular taking into account the current levels of internal and external debt of the African countries. It is therefore important we offer these countries investment opportunities. We capitalize on the Africa SAFE initiative as an approach to improve the lives of people in Africa in a sustainable and climate resilient manner, ” H.E. Hala Helmy el-Said, Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Arab Republic of Egypt remarked.

By leveraging Africa’s agricultural potential and the Middle East’s investment capacity, the Africa and Middle East SAFE Initiative aims to unlock green investments, promote climate-smart agriculture for rural farmers, and create green jobs, all geared towards securing a sustainable future for these regions. Comprising the Technical Assistance Fund (TAF) and Investment Platform (IP), the Initiative sets ambitious goals, aiming to irrigate 2 million hectares of African farmland, enhance climate resilience for 10 million smallholder farmers (with a specific focus on women and young people), and effectively address food security challenges. “With food security and agriculture production at the heart of the economic sector of Côte d’Ivoire, this initiative will support particularly youth and women. On behalf of H.E. Alassane Ouattara the country is happy to provide support to the SAFE initiative,” Côte d’Ivoire State Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development and Food Production, Mr. Kobenan Kouassi Adjoumani said. 

GGGI is committed to facilitating ongoing dialogues and shaping the potential of the initiative. “This initiative is poised to make a substantial impact by not only addressing immediate challenges but also contributing to the long-term well-being of Africa and the Middle East,” Dr. Frank Rijsberman GGGI’s Director General said. “GGGI is dedicated to facilitating the Africa and Middle East SAFE Initiative, coordinating diverse stakeholder voices to ensure its successful progression toward climate-resilient agriculture and sustainable food systems in Africa and the Middle East,” Dr. Frank Rijsberman added.

Operationalization of the initiative will be supervised by a Board representing participating countries and institutions. GGGI’s Regional Office for MENA will serve as the Secretariat for the Board of the Africa and Middle East SAFE Initiative.

 Note to Editor

Proposition of the Africa and Middle East safe initiative can be downloaded here.

Key Alignments:

  • The Initiative aligns strongly with the achievement of SDG2 (zero hunger),
  • The objectives of the Pan African Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme by the Africa Union,
  • National strategies and development plans of participating countries from Africa and the Middle East.
  • The Initiative will also contribute to and benefit from the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement and aligned to relevant development priorities of participating countries.

Key Highlights of the Africa and Middle East SAFE Initiative:

  • USD 10 billion public-private partnership
  • Unlocking green investments and promoting climate-smart agriculture
  • Irrigation of 2 million hectares of African farmland
  • Enhancing climate resilience for 10 million smallholder farmers, with a focus on women and young people
  • Creation of 2 million green jobs
  • Export of 2 million metric tons of food crops to the Middle East, valued at around USD 2 billion

Key Facts:

  • With 65% of the world’s arable land, strong human capital, and renewable resources, Africa holds significant potential for climate-smart agriculture, utilizing approaches like solar-powered irrigation and regenerative agriculture.
  • While 94% of Africa’s NDCs prioritize climate-smart agriculture, productivity and food security in sub-Saharan nations lag behind peers.
  • In the broader Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, which imports 50% of food commodities (reaching ~80-90% in affluent Gulf Cooperation Countries), agriculture faces challenges such as water scarcity and climate change impacts.

Government and institutional supporters of the Africa and Middle East Initiative Include: MASDAR, African Risk Capacity (ARC), The Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC), Global Dryland Alliance (GDA), FIRCA, African Development Bank (AfDB), African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)

About the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI)

The Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) was founded as a treaty-based international, inter-governmental organization in 2012 at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. GGGI supports its Member States in transitioning their economies toward a green growth model that simultaneously achieves poverty reduction, social inclusion, environmental sustainability, and economic growth. With 48 Member States and over 22 Partner countries and regional integration organizations in the process of accession, GGGI delivers programs and projects in over 40 countries. GGGI’s work contributes to its Member States’ efforts to fulfill the Sustainable Development Goals and the Nationally Determined Contributions to the Paris Agreement.

For more information, visit:  https://gggi.org

This article was originally published by: GGGI