"We are very pleased that Norway has again appointed a Minister of International Development. Nikolai Astrup is early out saying he is going to focus on UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and the importance of business development in the fight against poverty, especially focusing on agriculture and renewable energy, "says Reinaart Pretorius, Director of International Development in Norges Vel.
Astrup's focus is entirely in line with Norges Vel's efforts to increase food security and reduce poverty. Through our projects in Mozambique, Uganda, Madagascar and Tanzania, we specifically work towards several of UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG): SDG2: Zero hunger, SDG8: Decent work and economic growth, and SDG17: Partnerships for det goals.
While aid previously was a key tool for poverty alleviation in developing regions, foreign investment and trade have gradually become far more important. Business is therefore a key factor in creating growth, but it is important that local farmers, and not Norwegian interests, are prioritized.
On the African continent most of the poor people live in rural areas and it is therefore crucial that development aid focuses on agriculture. Small and medium-sized farmers and businesses must be placed in the center to create sustainable business development that ensures that the values created remain in the local community. We believe this is the best way to achieve both reduced poverty and improved food security.
Norges Vel cooperates with Norwegian and local businesses to strengthen the farmers and their organizations. This work contributes to increased knowledge, improved market access, and gives farmers a greater share of the value creation.
Norges Vel is looking forward to continuing this work under a Minister of International Development with priorities in line with our own. Together we will improve the access to food for all, increase income for people living in rural areas and strengthen long lasting local economic growth.