Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and key private sector players outline roadmap to accelerate agrifood system transformation in Near East and North Africa (NENA) region


CAIRO, Egypt, January 31, 2024 -- “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 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.