7 new investments recommended with the potential to benefit over 131,000 smallholders with over 41.4 million combined funding
The 73rd Consultative Committee of the CFC has recommended seven investments for consideration by the Executive Board (EB). If approved by the EB, these investments are expected to benefit more than 131,000 smallholder farmers across Africa and Latin America. In total, these investments will unlock USD 41.4 million of financing for agribusinesses that are recreating economic opportunities where they are most needed, with the CFC's contribution amounting to USD 7.8 million.
Under the 23rd Call for Proposals, the CFC received 149 proposals, of which 30 were selected and discussed in the CFC Project Appraisal Committee (PAC). Ultimately, 7 proposals were approved at the 73rd Meeting of the CC to be presented to the EB. CFC is working hard to bring forth to the consideration of CFC member countries to help us increase the rate of acceptance far beyond what it is now. We identified where investment would have the greatest positive impact by accelerating local development, improving smallholder livelihoods, creating sustainable supply chains, and diversifying exports.
The investments will support the growth of agribusinesses specializing in commodities including cocoa, coffee, flowers, and vegetables in Africa and Latin America. They will also support a microfinance institution based in Latin America. Furthermore, they will contribute to several of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, including SDG 1 (No poverty), SDG 2 (No hunger), SDG 5 (Gender equality), SDG 8 (Decent work and economic growth), SDG 12 (Responsible consumption and production), and SDG 13 (Climate Action).
Speaking at the meeting, which was held in Amsterdam last week, CFC Managing Director Ambassador Sheikh Mohammed Belal said, "At the heart of our mission is the crucial interconnection between smallholders and SMEs (small and medium enterprises), which forms the backbone of our sustainability efforts. It is imperative to provide innovative support to the countless SMEs involved in commodity production and trade. Addressing the challenges faced by over two billion smallholders and aiding in poverty alleviation is a formidable yet essential task."
Amb. Belal also provided an update on the establishment of the Agricultural Commodity Transformation (ACT) Fund, a $100 million impact fund, and the need to mobilize resources for impact investing. He also addressed the challenges of commodity dependence, political instability, and the importance of addressing these issues to promote sustainable economic growth, particularly in Africa. Amb. Belal reiterated the imperative of addressing the needs of impoverished individuals heavily reliant on primary commodity exports for their income. Emphasizing the vulnerability of this demographic, he underscored the necessity for increased attention and support. He also emphasized the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ukraine conflict, and disrupted global logistics.
The Consultative Committee is composed of nine commodity experts from different regions, who are elected for a term of two years. They meet twice a year to discuss and recommend investments in commodity-related businesses for consideration by the Executive Board.
Datuk Ramle Kasin, Chairperson of the Consultative Committee expressed their eagerness to see significant diversification of CFC portfolio, both in quantity and quality, to bring more impacts at the grassroot level. Datuk Kasin thanked CFC for their professional excellence and hope to see more quality projects in their next meeting in July 2024.