Like for many others in the agri-finance community, 2020 was a challenging year for the SAFIN Network. The onset of the COVID-19 crisis presented all partners with the need to rapidly adapt to new circumstances and respond to new needs. For the Network as a whole, the pandemic required re-assessing its value proposition and adopting new working modalities, including introducing new tools to maintain linkages and information flows among partners in the absence of in-person encounters.
Some highlights from 2020 include:
Research and analytical work from the Investment Prospectus process and the SAFIN/OECD “deep dive” on blended finance and agriculture resulted in 17 knowledge products. Explore our resources from 2020 here.
Different stakeholders in the agri-SME finance ecosystem were convened in 15 webinars and learning events in the course of the year. These included a four-part webinar series on the impact of COVID-19 on agri-SME finance, a three-part webinar series on risk management for agri-SME finance during the COVID crisis and SAFIN’s first virtual Annual Plenary Week. Explore our previous webinars here and read about the Plenary 2020 here.
SAFIN remained an active champion for increased financing and investment into agri-SMEs in key global and regional forums. These included the OECD Private Finance for Sustainable Development Conference, the African Green Revolution Forum, the Finance in Common summit, and the United Nations Food Systems Summit preparation process.
New tools for enhanced connectivity were introduced to the Network, including a bi-monthly bulletin covering COVID-19 effects and responses among SAFIN partners, and an online platform for partners to connect and seek opportunities to collaborate.
As the final year in our pilot phase (2018-2020), much time and effort were also dedicated to charting the path for the strategic direction of the Network in its next phase from 2021-2025, including agreeing on five new focus areas for “SAFIN2.0” and a more decentralized and partners-led implementation process for the next biennium.