The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has announced a new programme encouraging Somalis in the diaspora to invest in farming in their home country, the UN News Centre reported on Monday (February 4th).
IFAD, a United Nations agency in charge of agricultural projects, has earmarked $1.5 million for the Diaspora Investment in Agriculture initiative, with another $1 million expected to come from diaspora Somali investors in the first four years.
The initiative, supported by the Somali government and the US Department of State's International Diaspora Engagement Alliance, will provide grants of between $20,000 and $100,000 to help Somalis in the diaspora invest in farming, thereby increasing food security and creating employment opportunities in rural Somalia.
"We must harness this often-times invisible investment in agriculture, particularly in post-conflict countries and fragile states," said IFAD President Kanayo Nwanze. "Helping the diaspora invest in agriculture represents an opportunity to mobilise new resources to achieve our common goal."
The announcement of the programme follows a recent call from Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud for Somalis in the diaspora to invest in their country. Remittances from Somalis living abroad are estimated to equal up to 50% of the country's gross domestic product, with as much as 40% of remittances sent to recipients in rural areas.