Accra, 3rd September 2019- The Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) participated in the launch of the deal room session at the 2019 African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) taking place in Ghana.
A technical partner of this year’s AGRF, the AECF was represented by its Board Chair Rt. Hon. Lord Paul Boateng and Interim CEO Victoria Sabula, who were both in attendance in Accra to speak at the forum’s various sessions.
The AGRF, the world’s premier forum for Agriculture brought together stakeholders in the agricultural landscape to discuss and commit to programs, investments and policies to achieve an inclusive and sustainable agricultural transformation across Africa.
The theme for this year’s 2019 AGRF session: Grow Digital: Leveraging Digital Transformation to drive sustainable foods Systems in Africa, highlighted the need for African economies to ride the digitalization wave in order to positively impact whole agricultural and food systems. The forum’s Agribusiness deal room, which aimed to connect investors with business owners seeking investments, was launched by the Hon. Ken Ofori-Atta, Ghana’s Finance Minister, Ms. Vanessa Adams, Vice-President, Country Support and Delivery at AGRA and Rt. Hon. Lord Paul Boateng, Chair of the AECF Board.
“Agricultural transformation is a priority in the policy agenda of African governments in their quest to meet the challenges of food and nutrition insecurity, climate change, youth unemployment and overall economic growth,” said AECF Board Chair Rt. Hon. Lord Paul Boateng, who introduced contributing design partners of the Agribusiness Deal Room launch.
"With the right policies, innovation and investment, the continent’s agriculture could be transformed into a powerhouse not only to feed a growing population but to create decent employment for millions of young people,” he added.
The Forum also addressed recent efforts to mobilize and support inclusive private and public investments in African Agriculture with different levels of success as well as the various approaches that can help to resolve the multiple bottlenecks around a single investment or a portfolio of investments.
Speaking in a session on Driving Private Sector investment for Africa’s Rapidly Growing Food Systems to Achieve the SDGs, AECF Interim CEO Victoria Sabula provided insights into the various strategies that AECF adopts to manage risks and challenges in mobilizing inclusive investments.
“At AECF, we surface high growth early stage businesses in the Agribusiness and Renewable Energy and Climate smart space that work directly with the rural and marginalised communities. We are typically the first investor in these companies and work with them to scale and grow to attract follow-on funding from the private sector. To support these companies, we offer grants and/or zero interest loans and are constantly seeking to introduce new financial instruments to support the various stages of growth for our portfolio companies and catalyse future investments in the businesses,” Mrs. Sabula noted.
In addition, AECF provides technical assistance for investees and runs the Connect Program which introduces the investees to potential private sector investors. “This way, we are certain the investees are able to get businesses mentors both financially and technically,” she added.
On Thursday, September 5, AECF Chairman Lord Paul Boateng will also speak in a panel on Investing in Ghana.
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About the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund
(AECF) is a multi-donor funded development institution that strives to reduce poverty in sub-Saharan Africa by unlocking the power of the private sector to impact rural and marginalised communities. We achieve this by providing financial and technical support to businesses in agriculture/agribusiness, renewable energy and climate change working on Africa, through competitive market-based approach also known as a challenge fund approach that invests in businesses, that are “risky” and struggle to meet traditional risk-return standards for commercial investors but offer significant impact. AECF’s work has been funded by various government and development institutions including Australia, Canada, Denmark, Netherlands, Sweden, United Kingdom, Consultative Group to Assist the Poor and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).