Who we are
The Smallholder and Agri-SME Finance and Investment Network (SAFIN) is a partnership of actors that are committed to aligning their efforts to scale up access to financial services for agri-SMEs and for commercial small farms. We are financial institutions, philanthropies, social lenders, technical assistance providers, farmers' organizations, and development finance organizations. From different vantage points, with different tools and entry points, each one of us works to bridge the investment gap in agriculture and food systems by financially empowering agri-SME and smallholder investors.
By aligning our efforts, we aim to learn from each other and leverage our differences and complementarities, to maximize the impact of what we can do individually and together. Our belief is that, while many new financial products and delivery solutions are emerging for this market, closing the investment gap on the scale required to meet the 2030 Agenda requires building functioning ecosystems. For SAFIN partners, this starts from us working more in an "ecosystem" fashion – pursuing cross-fertilization and synergies across our own activities – and building bridges across traditional and new players in the landscape.
As of August 2019, SAFIN counts 46 partners, including individual organizations and networks, operating in Africa, Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean. The network was announced by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Ministry of the Economy and Finance of Italy at a conference on "Investing in Inclusive Rural Transformation" held in Rome in January 2017, and it formally came together in April 2018.
SAFIN partners share a vision of a more effective and inclusive ecosystem for agri-SME and commercial small farm finance and investment, marked by five key features:
Inclusive and evidence-based policy and institutional environments;
Higher volumes and more diverse sources of capital;
System-wide alignment around inclusive narratives and practices;
Greater investment in innovation and attention to scaling up good practices;
An improved knowledge base informing both policy and practice.
Our Theory of Change
SAFIN rests on a network theory of change – where positive change is expected to result not from organizing different actors around new joint initiatives, but rather from building bridges across their actions, and pooling resources to devise new solutions to building effective bridges.
As a network, SAFIN is both the sum total of its partners and the incubator of tools to build effective bridges across the activities of partners, in pursuit of impact at scale on access to finance for agri-SMEs and commercial small farms in developing countries.
There are four specific assumptions supporting SAFIN's theory of change:
Each of the features of a more effective and inclusive financial ecosystem for agri-SMEs and commercial small farms corresponds to an area of unexploited synergies among partners;
Partners have something to offer and something to gain from working in greater synergy with others in each of these areas;
Each dimension of an effective ecosystem should feed into the others, and this should hold true also of types of activities undertaken individually or collectively by SAFIN partners;
Partners representing agri-SMEs and small farmers have an especially important role in shaping an effective agenda for SAFIN and for the broader ecosystem.
The SAFIN is governed by a Steering Committee and Workstream leads and facilitated by a Secretariat housed at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
The Steering Committee is responsible for reviewing the network's progress; discussing and deciding on new activity proposals; supporting the mobilization of resources; and reviewing knowledge products and advocacy pieces produced under the umbrella of the network. This group convenes four times a year.
Workstream leads are partners co-leading working groups on each of the SAFIN workstreams in close collaboration with the Secretariat hosted at IFAD.
The Secretariat plays a convening and facilitating role for the network and works in support to all partners.
Meet the Secretariat Team
The European Commission has also engaged in SAFIN since its early stages.