Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

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Saturday, 21 July 2018

Roberto Ridolfi, Director for sustainable growth and development at the European commission's DG DevCo – EuropeAid explains the new flagship 'EU biodiversity for life' (B4LIFE) initiative, which brings together all EU cooperation activities in the area of biodiversity and ecosystems under the same umbrella framework. The B4LIFE programme aims to contribute to socioeconomic development and the eradication of poverty. Currently, 70% of the world's poor live in rural areas, depending directly on biodiversity and ecosystems for their subsistence.  These ecosystem services provide livelihoods, enhance food and nutrition security, enable access to water and to health and contribute significantly to climate change mitigation and adaptation.

The Dutch non-governmental organization, ICCO (which is the Dutch abbreviation for the interchurch organization for development cooperation) in partnership with FITS (Uganda) Limited, have launched an Agribusiness  Innovation Challenge  to encourage  agri-entrepreneurs in Uganda. The best three agri-entrepreneurs with cash prizes to enable them replicate their models countrywide so that it benefits both the agri- entrepreneurs and small holder farmers in the country. Business  enterprises  should also prove the potential of having positive impact  on small holder  farmers  in their value addition  chain among other things and being environmentally friendly.

A delegation from Rwanda – comprised of 15 horticulture companies and two high-level representatives of the National Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB) -  shall visit the Netherlands for a B2B trip on the sidelines of the ‘No More Food to Waste’ conference, 15-17 June. Rwandan State Minister of Agriculture & Animal Resources, Mrs. Gerardine Mukeshimana led the delegation and was also kenote speaker at the conference. Minister Mukeshimana spoke of the aim to reduce food losses by bringing together global stakeholders from knowledge institutes, governments, NGO’s and the private sector. The program also included company visits, workshops and a B2B session, organized by the Netherlands-African Business Council in cooperation with Greenport Holland International.

KfW, the German Development Bank on behalf of the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), along with AgDevCo and Root Capital, today announced the launch of the Lending for African Farming Company (LAFCo). The company will finance agricultural enterprises throughout sub-Saharan Africa to enhance local food security and stimulate inclusive economic growth in the region. LAFCo aims to increase smallholder farmer productivity and incomes through better integration in local and regional agricultural value chains, and improved access to formal markets. With an anchor commitment from KfW, using funds from the German government, and additional investment by AgDevCo, which initiated the project with the support of UKAid, LAFCo will accommodate the working capital needs of agricultural enterprises.

At the European Development Days, also known as the ‘Davos of Development’, EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica highlighted that “catalyzing private sector investment for development is a strategic objective for the EU. (…) Even a small shift in private investment strategies can significantly change the impact of these investments on developing countries.” Last year the Commission outlined the criteria for private sector to play a complementary role in sustainable development: i) private sector could contribute to an enabling environment for business e.g. through regulatory reform, training and access to finance; ii) policies but also create synergies between the private sector’s commercial aims and development goals of the partner country.