AGRA and SIDA Sign U.S.$ 10 Million Grant Agreement to Boost Africa-Based Agricultural Entrepreneurs
28 September 2012, Arusha — The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) announced a US$10 million grant to support the development of Africa-based innovations to boost African agricultural growth. Mr. Henrik Riby, Representative, Sida and Mrs. Jane Karuku, President of AGRA formalized the agreement this week in a signing ceremony at the African Green Revolution Forum in Arusha.
The grant, awarded by Sida, will be directly channeled to the African Agribusiness Window of African Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF), a fund hosted by AGRA. Administered by the AECF, the grant will enable Africa-based entrepreneurs to submit new and innovative business solutions to accelerate the development of the agricultural sector in Africa.
Between 10-12 winners will be selected and provided with funding to develop their ideas into practical projects that are both commercially viable and will have a broad developmental impact on the rural poor. The projects will have a significant focus on the empowerment of women and environmental sustainability.
The grant is part of SIDA's program area focused on inclusive business and pro-poor economic growth, with investments that must significantly contribute to poverty reduction and rural development. The grant is expected to benefit at least an additional 60,000 households (300,000 people) with extra income, employment, market access and transfer of know-how.
"We know that a more effective and professional agriculture sector can make a real difference for millions of people living in poverty in sub-Saharan Africa, "said Henrik Riby, SIDA. "By sharing the financial risks of private investments in agribusiness, we hope to encourage new sustainable ways of raising rural incomes."
"The African Enterprise Challenge Fund is an important contributor to AGRA's goals and strategy, and its impact will be enhanced with this grant from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency," said Jane Karuku. "These projects benefit millions of Africa's rural poor in very practical ways such as jobs, increased income, knowledge transfer and market access." About SIDA Sida, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, is a government agency under Sweden's Ministry for Foreign Affairs. Sida's goal is to contribute to making it possible for poor people to improve their living conditions.
AGRA is an Africa based organization working in partnership with governments, agricultural research organizations, farmers, private sector, civil society and other rural development stakeholders to significantly and sustainably improve the productivity and incomes of resource poor farmers in Africa. AGRA's programs in the areas of seeds, soil health, market viability, supportive policies and innovative finance work to bring about transformational change across the agricultural value chain. Funded initially by the Rockefeller Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, AGRA is chaired by Kofi Annan and has offices in Nairobi, Kenya and Accra, Ghana.
The Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) invites private sector companies to compete for investment support for their new and innovative business ideas in agri-business, rural financial services and renewable energy & adaptation to climate change. To qualify for AECF funding, a business idea must have a positive impact on the rural poor in Africa, delivering increased employment, reduced costs, and improved productivity. The AECF runs competitions open only to for-profit-companies. For more information on the AECF please visit www.aecfafrica.org or email email@example.com.