The core of SAFIN activities lies in what partners do, individually or together, in their respective areas of work. In this context, we make a special effort to build synergies among our activities in five areas or workstreams, each one having a strategic connection to one of the five key features of an effective and inclusive ecosystem for agri-SME finance and investment. These workstreams are:
Mobilizing more and diverse sources of capital to strengthen the financial base of institutions serving smallholders and agri-SMEs
Aligning partners' investments through inclusive models in selected countries
Supporting innovation and scaling up of solutions to strategic issues in agri-SME finance
Coordinating advocacy and policy engagement in high-level forums
Identifying a strategic research agenda and facilitating joint efforts around it
We aim to accompany the timeline of the 2030 Agenda (including the Addis Ababa Action Agenda), with milestone moments for self-assessment in 2020 and 2025.
Our work is:
Ambitious: Keeping a focus on the ultimate objective of closing the financing and investment gap for agri- SMEs by 2030.
Pragmatic: Building on the capabilities and assets of all partners at any given time, leveraging these capabilities and addressing questions of concrete relevance.
Inclusive: Open to new like-minded partners committed to contributing to network activities, with special focus on the meaningful inclusion of organizations representing agri-SMEs.
Mobilizing new and diverse financial resources for the ecosystem
During the 2018-2019 biennium, the core of this workstream is a deep dive on the OECD DAC blended finance principles in agriculture and agri-SME finance. This includes research on the landscape of blended finance in this sector, promoting dialogue among different communities and stakeholder groups about good practice and its enablers, and advancing policy space and actively supporting improved practice among SAFIN partners.
Alignment of investments around inclusive models
During the current biennium, we are piloting an instrument called the "Investment Prospectus Framework" in five countries – Dominican Republic, India, Jamaica, Nigeria and Uganda – to align the programmatic activities and portfolios of SAFIN partners around strategic opportunities in agri-SME dense value chains and critical gaps in the current financial ecosystems at the country level.
Supporting innovation and scaling up
SAFIN is also a space for learning and knowledge sharing about innovative products and delivery models for finance and complementary services to smallholders and agri-SMEs. In the current biennium, our focus has been on sharing knowledge on innovative business models for technical assistance to agri-SMEs and on pooling partners' peer knowledge around the design and implementation of new initiatives led by other partners or stakeholders in the ecosystem.
Advocacy and policy engagement
We develop advocacy materials and convene different stakeholders alongside high-level policy forums to advance the agenda of agri-SME and smallholder finance. In the past years, this has included holding side events at the Financing for Development Forum under ECOSOC and specialized panels at the African Green Revolution Forum and the OECD Private Finance for Sustainable Development, among others.
Facilitating the pursuit of a strategic knowledge agenda
Many network partners undertake or support research on key issues in agri-SME and smallholder finance. SAFIN provides a space to share findings from such research through webinars, conferences, and informal meetings. For the 2019-2020 biennium, the research agenda of network partners covers a wide range of issues including new approaches to segmentation of agri-finance markets, disruptive innovations in digital finance in agriculture, and the role of market-facilitating institutions such as commodity exchanges in smallholder and agri-SME finance.