Just a matter of days after the group touched down on Nigeria’s infrastructure financing sector with USD 15 in investments, the African Development Bank (AfDB) has okayed USD 740 K for Small and Medium-scale Enterprises in Africa’s agricultural sector. The funding, which is part of a larger USD 23 Mn facility dubbed the Agriculture Fast Track (AFT) scheme, is tailored to support the small businesses in implementing their business models.
The multi-door fund which is meant to support 10 African countries, exists under the auspices of the governments of the United States, Denmark and Sweden via their various development agencies. Thanks to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) and the Swedish International Development (Sida), each beneficiary of the investment will receive between USD 100 K and USD 1.5 Mn towards the preparation of agriculture infrastructure projects.
Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mozambique, Burkina Faso, and Malawi, most of which already have considerable will benefit from the fund in preparation for agricultural infrastructure projects and financing or advisory services for agribusiness expansion purposes. According to a statement, the projects are expected to be implemented within half a year, while it will finance the upstream works of project design, feasibility studies, business plans, product certification, and market analysis. Per AfDB’s statement, the fund will help the benefitting countries conduct an environmental and social impact assessment.
September 2018, Premium Times reported that the AfDB would be investing USD 24 Bn in the continent’s agriculture over a ten-year course to combat the global hunger of 1 billion people. The revelation which was made by AfDB President Akinsunmi Adesina was followed by a challenge to global partners to put hands on deck to life the entire world out of hunger. The concerted efforts by different agencies from Europe somehow proves that the charge did not fall on deaf ears. The USD 23 Mn facility is one of the largest agri-funding in Africa.
According to a recent report by the International Food Policy Research Institute, Africa could add 38 million to its number of hungry people by 2050 as a result of climate change. The organisation also predicted that the continent would experience major food shortages by 2020 and beyond, while malnutrition may be on the increase over the next two decades
Since its inception in 2013, the AFT has been under the administration of the Agriculture and Agro-Industry Department of the AfDB, approving 36 grant projects, most of which are private-sector sponsored agribusiness SMEs.