The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Fund for African Private Sector Assistance (FAPA), a multi-donor trust fund financed by the Governments of Japan and Austria, today launched the African Agri-Business Engine (AABE) in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea to finance the private sector in the agricultural sector.
FAPA provides grants for technical assistance activities in Africa, and is one of the components of the Enhanced Private Sector Assistance (EPSA) initiative hosted at the African Development Bank.
The African Agri-Business Engine will identify investment and finance opportunities in agriculture and agribusiness, and focus its activities in Mozambique, Zambia, Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Kenya.
The project will be implemented by Grow Africa and hosted in the African Union Development Agency – New Partnership for Africa’s Development (AUDA-NEPAD). One of the proposed outcomes of the African Agri-Business Engine is the submission of business-ready deals with leading continental partners at the African Investment Forum in Johannesburg at the end of this year
Jennifer Blanke, Vice President of Agriculture, Human, and Social Development of the African Development Bank said the launch of the African Agri-Business Engine is significant because private financing is critical for the agriculture sector to move up the value chain, so that Africa can start to feed itself and ultimately the world.
The African Development Bank is building an integrated business pipeline that generates and activates investments for agribusinesses and agricultural SMEs to be financed in priority value chains on the continent. It is critical to enable inclusive financing within the agribusiness sector and develop market access for SMEs and smallholder farmers.
Mr. Symerre Grey-Johnson, Head of the Regional Integration, Infrastructure and Trade Programme of AUDA-NEPAD said that hosting the African Agri-Business Engine in NEPAD was appropriate and that this was a clear demonstration of the excellent cooperation between NEPAD and FAPA.
He also looked forward to the Bank’s second annual Africa Investment Forum in Johannesburg.
Mr Shinichi Isa, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Finance, Governor to the African Development Bank, Government of Japan, expressed the appreciation and approval of the Japanese government and said he was convinced of the particular importance and influence of technical assistance in building capacity from his previous experiences in development finance and projects.
The specific objectives of the African Agri-Business Engine are to create market insights and business intelligence at country level for priority value chains, and develop business engine value chain platforms for a flow of bankable and innovative agricultural SME proposals. Through these objectives, the project will identify commercial investment opportunities in strategic commodity value chains and provide a reliable pipeline of bankable projects that will quickly find investment funding.
Also in attendance at the launch were Governors and government representatives from Africa and foreign governments and senior Bank staff, including Vice President Finance Bajabulile Swazi Tshabalala.