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Press release

New handbook provides key tools to parliamentarians to foster responsible investment in Africa

Supporting more and better investments in Africa’s agriculture

December 15, 2020

15 December 2020, Accra – A handbook to guide parliamentarians in creating enabling environments for more and better investments in agriculture and food systems was launched today in Africa by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD).

To end poverty and hunger by 2030, the world needs an additional USD 265 billion in annual investments, both from the public and private sectors. Of this, USD 140 billion must focus on agriculture. Parliamentarians are key to help direct these investments toward increasing sustainable productivity, raising incomes, creating job opportunities and ultimately lifting the rural poor out of poverty and hunger.

"Parliamentarians can promote responsible public investments, and they can also create a conducive environment for responsible private investments, attracting larger scale agribusiness investors while ensuring safeguards are in place to protect human rights and the environment," FAO’s Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa Abebe Haile-Gabriel said.

"Building on more than ten years of work with parliamentarians in Africa, this handbook is a critical contribution to advancing more responsible investment in agriculture, as well as showcasing positive changes in laws and policies around the world," Richard Florizone, the President and CEO of IISD said.

Today’s Africa launch event brought together members of the Pan-African Parliament, the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament, as well as parliamentary advisors and other stakeholders.

Watch the full recording of the event


Africa’s parliamentarians key to sustainable food systems transformation

Agricultural investment is 2.5 to three times more effective in increasing the incomes of the poor than investment in other sectors. However, the negative impacts of poorly planned and executed agricultural investments can outweigh the benefits, for example if the investment results in violations of tenure rights, environmental degradation, and harm to local food security.

Responsible investments in agriculture and food systems: a practical handbook for parliamentarians and parliamentary advisors is an invaluable tool for informing and inspiring parliamentarians on how to mainstream responsible agricultural investments into the public agenda, the legislative process, budgets and oversight of policies.

"It gives me great pleasure to recommend this handbook to all actors and stakeholders concerned about food security, increases in the volume and value of intra-regional agricultural investment and trade, and generating opportunities for economic growth across the West African Sub-region," said Sidie Mohamed Tunis, Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament.

"Parliamentarians are key agents of change who can tackle inequality and increase prosperity for all by creating an enabling environment for better responsible investment in agriculture and food systems. At EALA, we remain committed to the pursuit and realization of food and nutrition security," said Ngoga Karoli Martin, Speaker of the EALA. "I recommend this handbook to all those concerned about the yawning social, economic and environmental gaps in agriculture and food systems."

The handbook helps to transpose into national legal frameworks the Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems which were adopted by the Committee on World Food Security in 2014.

Download a copy of the handbook

Media contacts

Zoie Jones, FAO Regional Communications Officer  

Kiranne Guddoy, IISD Communications Officer


Join the conversation on Twitter:

Follow @FAOInvest and @IISD_AG
#ParliamentAction2020 #foodsystems and #responsibleinvestment

About IISD

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is an award-winning independent think tank working to accelerate solutions for a stable climate, sustainable resource management, and fair economies. Our work inspires better decisions and sparks meaningful action to help people and the planet thrive. We shine a light on what can be achieved when governments, businesses, non-profits, and communities come together. IISD’s staff of more than 250 experts come from across the globe and from many disciplines. With offices in Winnipeg, Geneva, Ottawa, and Toronto, our work affects lives in nearly 100 countries.

Press release details

Food and Agriculture
Focus area