Abu Dhabi, UAE — 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.