Our Focus Areas for 2021-22 

Building on SAFIN partners’ individual and collective priorities and on key opportunities and gaps in the current agri-SME finance landscape, our focus for 2021-22 lies in five areas. These are:   

  • Convene: Bringing the ecosystem together to build trust and mutual understanding;

  • Track: Mapping out opportunities for innovative collaborations;

  • Focus: Fostering shared understanding of strategic issues and knowledge gaps for the future of agri-SME finance;

  • Influence: Bringing an agri-SME finance focus to country-led initiatives for private investment towards sustainable food systems;

  • Co-Create: Aligning around effective financial solutions to emerging challenges in the sector.

Value Proposition and Results 

The value proposition of SAFIN lies in being a trusted and curated space for partners to address strategic knowledge gaps, share learning, and identify opportunities to work together on initiatives with high transformative potential. Evidence of success at the end of the SAFIN2.0 phase will include: 

  • A tangible contribution to shared understanding of strategic action areas in agri-SME finance;

  • Increased connectivity across the network and new collaborative relationships;

  • Collaborative projects initiated or nurtured by the network to bridge the agri-SME finance gap.

SAFIN measures its impact in line with best network practice through regular network health surveys, social network analysis, and systematic tracking of collaborative initiatives nurtured in its midst.
 

Convene: Bringing the ecosystem together to build trust and mutual understanding 
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Fragmentation in the agri-SME finance landscape is partly a result of a dearth of spaces designed specifically for actors to come together to exchange and reflect about key issues of shared concern. Under this heading, SAFIN nurtures conversations and relationships oriented towards building mutual understanding and nurturing trust, both across the network and across relevant communities at the global, regional and country levels.

 
Track: Mapping out opportunities for innovative collaborations 
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One major consequence of landscape fragmentation is that innovation happens simultaneously in different communities and geographies without sufficient cross-fertilization or the critical mass of support needed to achieve scale. Under this heading, SAFIN uses a number of tools to facilitate partners’ awareness of innovative work in agri-SME finance, with a view to facilitating collaborations and rapid learning loops that can ultimately lead to greater impact.

 
Focus: Fostering shared understanding of strategic issues for the future of agri-SME finance
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While interest in agri-SMEs, finance and food system transformation gains momentum in many parts of the world, the community of actors working on agri-SME finance still lack a shared theory of change about how to bridge the finance gap for these enterprises. Under this heading, SAFIN facilitates dialogue around strategic priorities for the future of agri-SME finance, creates opportunities for partners to engage with new research and thinking, and supports knowledge building on themes with high impact potential. 

 
Influence: Bringing an agri-SME lens to country-led initiatives for investment towards sustainable food systems
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As the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and a number of international processes bring new urgency to the agenda of sustainable investments in food and agriculture, prompting new country-led plans, strategies, and initiatives, it is critical to ensure that agri-SMEs are clearly in focus. Under this heading, SAFIN seeks to inform and influence relevant plans and initiatives with partners’ knowledge about agri-SME finance, as well as to help stakeholders to identify financial solutions around investment opportunities for agri-SMEs.

 
Co-Design: Aligning around financial solutions to emerging sector challenges
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Many network partners are continuously engaged in designing or supporting the implementation of innovative financial solutions to emerging or strategic challenges like COVID-19, food systems sustainability, nutrition, gender inclusion, and climate resilience. This focus area is about collaboration around the design of financing platforms or instruments to address key challenges, coordinated support to new or existing instruments, and learning and knowledge sharing on blended finance and sustainable investment products.