By Asmau Ahmad
The Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD) and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have jointly pledged $200 million toward agriculture, climate resilience and economic development projects in Africa.
The pledge was made on Monday through a new strategic partnership (Nanmo) to support smallholder farmers on drylands on the African continent. Nanmo means “growing together” in Arabic.
The partnership was forged at the 2022 Doha Forum, according to a statement made available to newsmen.
The strategic partnership was announced by Bill Gates and Mr Khalifa Al-Kuwari, Director General of QFFD, in the presence of Gates Foundation CEO, Mark Suzman, during a panel at the Doha Forum.
The partnership will also include systems-level research and country-level implementation to adapt to local environments.
“QFFD and the Gates Foundation jointly pledged up to $200 million toward agriculture, climate resilience and economic development projects to support smallholder farmers on drylands on the African continent.
“Nanmo will invest in climate-adaptive agricultural tools and technologies to build resilient food systems and markets that provide nutrition, income and economic opportunities to small-scale producers and their communities across the African continent.
“These farmers are bearing the brunt of the effects of climate change and this partnership will aim to strengthen economies in sub-Saharan Africa in four key areas.
“The areas include equity as a primary driver of inclusive growth, enterprise as a means of job creation and poverty alleviation, agriculture as a primary source of food, jobs, and income.
“Access to technologies, financial tools, and emerging best practices as a driver of productivity, nutrition, and climate adaptation.
“The partnership will also seek to ensure that women small-scale producers can positively contribute to and benefit from decisions about how their communities grow food and create jobs,” the statement read in part.
Bill Gates was also quoted as saying: “Hundreds of millions of smallholder farmers, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, are already seeing their livelihoods threatened by higher temperatures and changing weather patterns.
“We’re building on our longstanding collaboration with QFFD to help these farmers adapt.
“Together, we can prevent millions of people from falling into poverty and hunger due to climate change and increase agricultural yields to jumpstart equitable economic growth where it’s most needed.”
According to the statement, one of the first projects funded by Nanmo will be working with the World Poultry Foundation to provide them with improved breeds of chicken for egg and meat production.
This would focus on improving the livelihood of low-income women farmers in a number of African countries.
Al-Kuwari was also quoted as saying that QFFD was “thrilled to be announcing a new initiative in collaboration with our strategic partner, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, titled Nanmo, which aims at ensuring that the sustainable development goals are met everywhere.”
“We have high hope that these valuable partnerships will expand our efforts to improve the lives of vulnerable communities, ensuring their economic security against the backdrop of this ever-evolving planet,” he said.
The partnership will also fund projects that would impact multiple United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including poverty alleviation, agricultural transformation, nutrition, women’s and youth economic empowerment.
The statement also quoted Melinda French Gates, co-chair of the Gates Foundation, as saying: “A thriving agriculture sector generates economic growth but that growth doesn’t automatically benefit everyone equally.
“Nanmo isn’t just about protecting agriculture against climate change.
“It’s also about making sure that smallholder farmers, including millions of women, can lift themselves out of poverty and invest in a better future for their families and their communities.’’
Gates Foundation has spent over $5 billion since 2009 on advancing agricultural development to support the needs of smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
QFFD is a Qatari public institution committed, on behalf of the State of Qatar, to implement foreign aid projects by international best practices and standards.
Since 2012, QFFD has been providing aid to many countries in accordance with the international cooperation goals of Qatar National Vision 2030.
Its primary goal is to achieve inclusive and sustainable development by addressing global priority issues in education, health and economic development.