“Gov’t Must Serve As Gatekeeper”

…In Agri. Investment … Ms. Njie

MONROVIA-The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Representative to Liberia, Ms. Mariatou Njie, wants the Liberian Government to serve as a gatekeeper in the area of agriculture investment.

Ms. Njie said, through gate-keeping, the Liberian Government can decide which investors will be allowed to conduct agriculture business in Liberia and what types of investments are permitted.

She said while the Government of Liberia will be acting as gatekeepers on behalf of the people of the country, it may be asking the following questions like do we want this particular investor to invest or operate in Liberia?, do we want this particular investment in Liberia?, and is it aligned with Liberia’s overall goals for sustainable development?

Ms. Njie indicated that investment screening is one of the policy mechanisms governments the world over can use to pursue these questions.

“When screening an investment proposal, you can conduct the due diligence on the prospective investor and investment to gather information and analyze whether the proposal will lead to a responsible investment in agriculture and food systems”, the FAO Representative to Liberia pointed out.

Ms. Njie spoke Thursday at the Farmington Hotel in Lower Margibi County during two–day high-level meeting on boosting responsible investment in agriculture and food systems in Liberia for sustainable development.

She also termed the high-level strategic engagement gathering involving Heads of Government Ministries, Agencies, and Commissions including  Ambassador of Embassies near Monrovia, and Heads of International Organizations is another milestone in FAO’s efforts to boost responsible in the agriculture and food system in Liberia.

Ms. Njie: “This strategic engagement aims at policy and institutional change through the adoption of a screening policy and process of investors and investments for Liberia”.

She further disclosed that the screening tools were developed through a full blended learning program that strengthened the capacities of state and non-state actors to apply the ten principles for responsible investment in agriculture and food systems.

These principles, according to Ms. Njie have been developed following an inclusive muti-stakeholder process in the UN Committee on World Food Security.

For his part, German Ambassador accredited near MonroviaJakob Haselhubur underscored that stimulating and increasing response to investment in agriculture and food assistance is crucial to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

According to Ambassador Haselhubur, FAO and WFP estimated in the past years that additional 140 billion United States Dollars were needed to achieve the UN-SDGs one and two by 2030.

He said that is why the German Government over the years, has been providing capacity-building programs and technical assistance to strengthen responsible agriculture development in Liberia.

Howeverin his opening remark, Internal Affairs Minister, Varney Sirleaf indicated that a land right with women’s involvement is vital to address food security in Liberia.

Minister Sirleaf said women can be played an essential role in the agriculture sector of Liberia once the land rights issue is properly handled, providing information on a group of women in Nimba County within a cooperative are doing well in farming activities there.

The two days meeting held from Thursday, April 13 thru Friday, April 14 was organized by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Monrovia in partnership with the Liberian Government.

The event focuses on sharing results from FAOs support to enhancing the enabling environment for responsible investment in agriculture and food systems in Liberia, presenting and validating the responsible investment and investor screening tool with senior policymakers, discussing lessons learned, good practices, and challenges, providing an open space for discussions on responsible agriculture investment in Liberia for concerned stakeholders as well as identifying ways forward and priorities for sustained engagement for boosting responsible investment in agriculture and food systems in Liberia to sustainable development.

The meeting brought together Government Entities and the Legislature, Technical and Financial Resource Partners, Civil Society Organizations and Non-governmental Organizations, Private Sector Entities, Academia, and Research Institutions including other United Nations Agencies.

Topics of liberation included boosting responsible investment in agriculture and food systems in Liberia for sustainable development, enhancing screening policies and processes for responsible investment in agriculture and food systems, blended learning program on investment screening, commitment, and prioritization planning as well as resource partners discussion: strategic ways forward for Responsible Agriculture Investment (RAI) implementation in Liberia.

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