African Enterprise Challenge Fund to launch by 2018 an initiative to women entrepreneurship in agriculture
(Ecofin Agency) - The African Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) which provides subsidies and interest-free loans to private companies in Africa, plans to launch by 2018 an initiative that aims to promote and support women entrepreneurship in agribusiness sector across the continent. This was revealed to the Ecofin Agency, by Steve Tawia, head of investments and assets management at AECF.
Actually, the project will provide technical and managerial assistance to its beneficiaries, who will be selected based on various criteria (such as innovativeness and commercial viability), enabling them to thrive in the agribusiness sector.
The initiative will cover all value chains which are commercially viable; these include rice, cashew and cocoa, and will focus on sub-Saharan Africa with a particular accent on French-speaking regions of West and Central Africa. This, in a bid to insure the geographical diversification of assets backed by the Fund.
“The objective is to, during contests, to send strong messages to get women, who are often left out in decision-making processes, more involved in agriculture, and emulate other women-entrepreneurs as models. Similarly to Togo’s nana Benz who are influent in the business world, we need Agribusiness nana Benz,” Tawia said.
Moreover, he adds, this project only reflects one of the many goals of the group for the next three to five years.
Indeed, over the same period, the Fund plans to diversify sources of financing, raise funds for a youth integration scheme in agribusiness and increase its support to actors of the African seedling industry.
Let’s recall that AECF was founded in 2008 in Nairobi, on the initiative of the Africa Green Revolution Alliance.
Since then, the Fund which has a capital of $256 million already supported more than 257 projects in 24 countries, mainly focusing on those in agriculture, renewables and climate change resiliency.