The global community is facing escalating acute food insecurity crises, predominantly in SubSaharan Africa, due to climate change, the Russia–Ukraine conflict, and COVID-19 shocks. Related impacts on donor government budgets, domestic conflicts and limited fiscal capacity in countries already experiencing acute food insecurity, often on top of high chronic food insecurity levels, further exacerbate the issue.

This policy brief (funded by the UK Government’s Commercial Agriculture for Smallholders and Agribusiness programme) examines the potential of private sector financing to alleviate food insecurity, reviewing key mechanisms for mobilizing private sector investment in priority regions affected by acute food insecurity. The brief finds that while private sector investment has an important role to play in addressing the underlying causes of acute food insecurity in Africa in the longer term, it is not suitable for addressing urgent financing needs. Generally, significant, and patient donor and public sector intervention will be needed to catalyse private sector investment and to direct it where it will have the biggest impact on food security – for example, in local processing and value additional capacity – and this will require patient resource, expertise, and long-term commitment.



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