AfDB Participates in Launch of AGRF Forum Platform Connecting African SMEs to Investment Opportunities

Thursday 01 July 2021 / 8:54 AM / By AfDB / Header image credit: Twitter; @ AGRF

AGRF’s agricultural twinning platform initiative connects some 4,000 actors in the agricultural sector with investment and networking opportunities

The new African Development Bank Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development, Dr Beth Dunford, and Director of Agricultural Finance and Rural Infrastructure Development, Atsuko Toda, joined development leaders in line to launch this year the agro-industrial trading room of the Green Revolution Forum in Africa (AGRF). AGRF’s agricultural twinning platform initiative connects some 4,000 actors in the agricultural sector with investment and networking opportunities.

In his first public engagement since his appointment, Dr Dunford delivered a speech in a virtual session that drew more than 200 attendees on Tuesday, June 29. Dr Dunford said that across Africa there is a growing class of ‘agripreneurs’ looking for investment, partnerships, technical know-how and funding to grow their business.

“The African Development Bank is delighted to extend its partnership to this initiative. The Agribusiness Deal Room complements our efforts to expand agribusiness finance to enable small and medium-sized enterprises to grow and attract new, innovative sources of sustainable capital. she told the audience online.

Organized by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, this fourth edition of the Agribusiness Deal Room will be presented at the annual AGRF summit which brings together stakeholders to facilitate partnerships and investments in African agriculture. The Agribusiness Deal Room specifically supports governments and businesses by giving them access to financing and partnership opportunities.

Dr Dunford told session participants that the platform aligns with the Bank’s Feed Africa strategy which aims to ensure that agricultural sector growth includes food security and encourages inclusive growth by involving more women. and young people. She also said that the Bank’s support to the Agribusiness Deal Room demonstrates a commitment to a collective vision to accelerate the transformation of the food system in Africa.

“In my new role at the Bank, I look forward to working with AGRF and many online partners with us, to see these food systems become more sustainable and resilient,” added Dr Dunford.

This year, the AGRF Agribusiness Deal Room will focus on the challenges of agricultural lending to small and medium-sized enterprises, or SMEs.

“The enormous potential of the agricultural sector on the continent remains untapped, with agriculture potentially the engine of African economies. We designed the Deal Room to build the capacity of SMEs while connecting them with sources of finance. We are looking for investments and partnerships that will unleash the potential of the sector, ”said Dr Fadel Ndiame, Vice President of AGRA.

The Bank is one of the 24 partners of the Agribusiness Deal Room who bring complementary capacities, resources and networks to the platform.

Toda participated in one of two panel discussions at Tuesday’s launch, the first focusing on ‘Investments for resilience, public and private sector strategies’, the latter on’ Building the capacity of SMEs. to mitigate risks for a sustainable African food system ”.

Speaking on the topic of capacity building for SMEs, Toda said these often under the radar businesses play a key role in delivering food to African tables and creating jobs.

“SMEs are the engine of growth in food supply chains. If you look at any food supply chain, between 65% and 90% of the food supply actually goes through small and medium-sized businesses, ”Toda said.

“For people to have jobs in Africa, it is very difficult to enter the formal sector. So the informal sector – small and medium enterprises – is so important for job creation on the African continent,” she added.

Dr Dunford will be responsible for the Bank’s strategy, lending and other activities in agriculture, as well as water and sanitation, education, health and works. Bank-wide on employment and gender equity.

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