Press Release – Citi Foundation

Lusaka, Zambia – February 22, 2024 – Today marked a significant milestone as the Citi Foundation proudly joined hands with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to bolster resilience activities supporting smallholder farmers in Zambia. With a generous contribution of US$500,000 from the Citi Foundation, this initiative aims to strengthen resilience to climate crises and enhance financial inclusion for 17,200 smallholder farmers over the next two years.
The grant from the Citi Foundation is part of its Global Innovation Challenge, which supports organizations addressing food security and bolstering the physical and financial health of low-income families and communities worldwide. WFPUSA, as one of the 50 recipients of the Global Innovation Challenge, will utilize the funds to expand WFP’s resilience activities in Zambia.
“At Citi, we recognize the pivotal role smallholder farmers play in ensuring food security and sustainable development,” remarked Lowani Chibesakunda, CEO of Citi in Zambia. “We are proud to collaborate with WFP to uplift smallholder farmers in Zambia through digital innovation, financial literacy, and capacity-building components. This program has the potential to significantly impact the lives of farmers and contribute to the establishment of sustainable food systems.”
The groundbreaking initiative will offer farmers comprehensive training encompassing financial literacy skills, modern agricultural practices, access to affordable credit and risk insurance, and forecasting services. Additionally, WFP will scale up the utilization of the Maano – Virtual Farmers Market application, an app-based e-commerce platform facilitating the advertisement and marketing of farmers’ surplus and buyers’ demand for crops.
“This program is a game-changer,” affirmed Cissy Byenkya, WFP’s Country Director in Zambia. “Through our partnership with the Citi Foundation, we aim to empower farmers with the necessary tools and resources to overcome climate-related challenges, increase their income, and enhance food security. We are committed to ensuring that women farmers, in particular, are empowered and actively participate in decision-making processes.”
The handover ceremony of the half-million-dollar grant was held today, with representatives from the media, Citi Bank, the government, and WFP officials in attendance. The collaboration between WFP Zambia and the Citi Foundation underscores the power of humanitarian organizations and the private sector joining forces to address food security challenges and promote sustainable development.
About Citi Foundation
The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. We invest in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyze job opportunities for youth, and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant cities. The Citi Foundation’s “More than Philanthropy” approach leverages the enormous expertise of Citi and its people to fulfill our mission and drive thought leadership and innovation.
About WFP
The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies, building prosperity, and supporting a sustainable future for people recovering from conflict, disasters, and the impact of climate change.