MILAN, ITALY — Suma Chakrabarti, president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), attended the Finance for Food conference in Milan, Italy, on World Food Day Oct. 16 where he spoke about food security.

“The private sector engagement in delivering a global development agenda for the next generation will be crucial in the drive to combat hunger and ensure food security,” Suma said.  

The conference was also attended by Italian Minister of Economy and Finance; Pier Carlo Padoan; International Fund for Agricultural Development President Kanayo F. Nwanze; ‎FAO Director General; Graziano Da Silva; United Nations Secretary General; Ban Ki-moon; and the President of the Italian Republic; Sergio Mattarella.

Suma told the conference that rolling out the new sustainable development goals (SDG), including food security and nutrition, “requires a global partnership between the private and public sectors.” 

“We welcome the fact that the new agenda acknowledges the private sector as crucial for the SDGs’ success and recognizes private finance as the main channel for mobilizing global resources,” he said.

The EBRD will continue to make significant investments‎ in private agribusinesses and to provide stable, long-term finance for food and nutrition, Suma told the conference.

The EBRD would also strongly promote policies that foster a green agri-economy. It was possible to unlock agricultural production potential while cutting back on the use of energy and other natural resources.

The EBRD already places a very high priority on its agribusiness investments, which have totaled nearly €10 billion since it was founded.

In 2011, together with the FAO, EBRD launched its Private Sector for Food Security Initiative, a program that ensures that the private sector can contribute fully to food security in the EBRD region.

Separately in Milan, Suma addressed the heads of leading Italian corporations and encouraged them to invest jointly with the EBRD in its countries of operations, in central eastern and south eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.

He placed a particular focus on investment opportunities in the EBRD’s new southern and eastern Mediterranean region. The EBRD has been investing in Egypt, Morocco, Jordan and Tunisia since 2012.

In a later meeting Finance Minister Padoan, who is also the current chair of the EBRD’s board of governors, and Suma discussed ways of enhancing EBRD’s activity in its countries of operations.