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The AGRF 2019 Deal Room is Open for Business, Private Sector Investments Invited

AGRF 2020

Africa’s Agricultural Enterprise Secures Billion Dollar Investments at AGRF 2019

Africa’s Agricultural Enterprise Secures Billion Dollar Investments at AGRF 2019

ACCRA, Ghana, 3-6 September 2019: The Agribusiness Deal Room stole the show at this year’s African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in Accra, Ghana, raising more than $200 million in venture Capital and billions more in technical support to advance digital farmer services across the continent.

The Deal Room was designed as a platform linking capital-seeking enterprises, investors, financial institutions, government entities, and anchor buyers in relationships that promise to fast-track the journey to a green revolution in Africa.

“We are all about the business of agriculture,” said Lord Paul Boateng, Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) Board Chair, as the Deal Room was officially opened by Hon. Ken Ofori-Atta, Ghana’s Finance Minister and Vanessa Adams, the Vice-President of Country Support and Delivery at the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).

This year, Deal Room activities brought together 580 businesses, 37 investors, 17 African regional banks, and three Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) in 350 meetings from which more than 117 African SMEs secured fruitful connections with high-profile investors.

Grow Africa, a program of the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD), signed seven term sheets leading to more than  $200 million of new investments in Malawi, Uganda, Eswatini, Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire by 2023. The investments will connect farmers with sustainable commercial supply chains and will lead to the creation of over 10,000 new jobs across the four countries.   

The term sheets were signed by: Dangote Farms Limited (Nigeria – Tomato value chain); Press Agriculture Limited (Malawi – Dairy, Macadamia and Soya value chains); Pearl Dairies Limited (Uganda – Dairy value chain), and IFresh Limited (Mozambique & Eswatini – Horticulture value chain).  The governments of the respective countries confirmed their support for the investments secured by the term sheets through favourable policy formulation and enforcement, as well as the provision of proper public infrastructure, where appropriate. Similarly, development partners committed to providing resources for capacity building and technical assistance for outgrower schemes and other value chain actors.

Other notable deals arising from the Deal Room, included a Unilever-IDH partnership that committed $28.6m towards investments in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) working in a variety of food-related endeavors.

Additionally, 17 country delegations presented investment opportunities worth more than $3.6b. The proposed investments, coupled with support from various other stakeholders, are anticipated to positively impact the income of more than 14.6m smallholder farmers, while creating 7.6m jobs.

Such investments, says Ms. Leticia Osafo-Addo, founder and CEO of Ghanaian food processing and preservation company Samba Foods, will lay the foundation to a future where businesses in the food value chains will dominate the market.

“With the right amount of support, what you now see as small business in the agriculture value chains will become the future giants across their specialization,” she said.

Ms. Osafo-Addo’s confidence is grounded on experience. Her company grew from a micro-enterprise in 1994 to the behemoth that became the first indeginous company to list on the Ghana Alternative Market (GAX), a parallel market operated by the Ghana Stock Exchange with a focus on businesses with potential for growth.

In support of the Deal Room objectives, Gilbert Houngbo, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), emphasized the need for collaboration between members of the private sector and government agencies in investments aimed at creating more opportunities for agropreneurs.

“It has never been clearer than it is now that agriculture is an important driver for economic growth. As such, we will continue to see a shift that will drive investment to the industry,” said Houngbo.

More than 15 major international companies participated in the Deal Room, including AB-InBev, Coca Cola, Corteva, Dangote, Export Trading Group, John Deere, Land O’Lakes, Microsoft, Nestle, the OCP Group, Olam, SAP, Syngenta, Unilever, and Yara. 

The AGRF 2019 drew nearly 2800 participants from 89 countries around the world to Accra, where intensive consultations around the future of Africa’s agriculture were held in various other sessions outside the Deal Room.

“The potential benefits of the AGRF to the African continent are beyond contention,” said Ghana President H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. 

AGRA President, Dr. Agnes Kalibata, exuded confidence that the prospects brought about by the AGRF would continue to drive the growth of the agriculture industry in Africa.

“We are happy to provide a platform facilitating connections and creating opportunities for farmers to enhance productivity,” she said.

The AGRF is the world’s premier forum for African agriculture, pulling together stakeholders across the agricultural landscape to discuss and commit to programs, investments and policies to achieve an inclusive and sustainable agricultural transformation across the continent.

This year, the event returned to Ghana, host of the first AGRF in 2010, and the home of former UN Secretary General, the late Kofi Annan. Mr. Annan was the founder of both the AGRF and AGRA, and, until his death, was a leading voice for the power of smallholder farmers to drive major reductions in poverty across the continent.