Investments in agriculture are key for economic growth, job creation and sustainable incomes in farming communities. Nevertheless constraints remain and significant investment in production and processing are needed to allow farmers and SMEs to grow their businesses and thrive economically.
The already challenging environment that SMEs and farmers face, has been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic. The loss of income and jobs, stringent transport restrictions, increased economic uncertainty and supply chain disruptions has led to food security concerns. In addition it has increased volatility for millions of small agribusinesses, more specifically women SMEs. Investors and financiers are revising and redirecting investment strategies by refocusing on restructuring, liquidity, bridge funding, and strengthening existing investments and longer term funding.
Now more than ever it is critical that investors, enterprises, governments and other stakeholders convene to identify opportunities and plan towards sustainable solutions.
It is against this backdrop that the AGRF launched the Virtual Agribusiness Deal Room at the AGRF Summit on Monday 20 July 16:00-17:30 at a Virtual Café.
The Agribusiness Deal Room is a matchmaking platform that provides agribusinesses opportunities to access finance, mentorship, and market entry solutions to support their growth objectives. It also creates opportunities for governments to present investment opportunities, promote incentives and engage with interested investors to discuss bottlenecks.
The Launch Event was hosted by AGRA’s President, Dr. Agnes Kalibata. Speakers included the Honorable Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Minister for Food and Agriculture, Ghana, Mrs Clare Akamanzi, CEO of the Rwanda Development Board, Ms. Bonnie Glick, Deputy Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development and Mr. Donal Brown, Associate Vice-President, Programme Management Department, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The investment panel was facilitated by Mr. Frank Braeken, AGRA Board Member.
Themes discussed ranged from “The Food and Agri investment climate for Agriculture in Africa” to “Leveraging investments for the hidden middle; an eco-system perspective”.
“AGRA is proud to support the Agribusiness Deal Room as a premium platform to drive African-led and inclusive investments in Agriculture. Governments want the private sector to succeed, from SMEs through to large enterprises in the interest of building national and continental food security and prosperity. We however have to support our SME’s, especially women entrepreneurs to find these growth opportunities”
Dr. Agnes Kalibata, President, AGRA
“If we want to fast track economic development, we have to facilitate private-sector led growth. The Republic of Rwanda is looking forward to hosting the Agribusiness Deal Room at the African Green Revolution Forum in 2020”
Clare Akamanzi, Chief Executive Officer, Rwanda Development Board
The Agribusiness Deal Room is designed to ensure a higher deal conversion rate (number of deals receiving investor interest), increased participation by youth and women, and targeted approach to leverage stakeholder resources.
The Deal Room will facilitate close to 200 companies, 15 African governments and over 50 investors and financial institutions. Partners will also host the Sourcing in Africa alliance, a convening of large anchor buyers, farmer organizations, SMEs, traders, development partners, NGOs and others to build alliances and larger-scale trade deals to increase sustainable buying from African farmers.
Matchmaking and related panels of the Agribusiness Deal room will take place virtually at this year’s African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF), which, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, is also being held virtually from 8-11 September 2020. Under the leadership of H.E. President Paul Kagame and the theme of “Feed the Cities, grow the continent”, the 2020 AGRF will take stock, evaluate actions, and learn from compelling evidence across the continent, presented by many of the most inspiring leaders turning agriculture into thriving businesses. Farmers will demonstrate how the use of technology and better farming methods is able to transform entire communities and nations. Public sector thought leaders will share their experience in delivering policies and investments to advance jobs and food security and the growth trajectory of whole nations; while private sector champions and agri-preneurs will showcase their efforts in innovation and how they are opening up scalable and sustainable market opportunities in Africa’s evolving food systems.
How to engage?
Companies, governments, investors and financial institutions interested in participating in the Agribusiness Deal Room 2020 are invited to visit https://agrf.org/dealroom/ Deal Room via the https://agrf.org/dealroom/ and download submission forms and registration details there. Alternatively, please email [email protected]
The Agribusiness Deal Room is supported by a growing group of contributing partners, including The co-chairs of the Agribusiness Deal Room thematic platform of the AGRF: Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), US Agency for International Development (USAID).
The AGRF partners group
Government of Rwanda, AFAP, African Development Bank (AfDB), The African Union, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, CGIAR, Corteva, CTA, FAO, The Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH), IDRC, Mastercard Foundation, NEPAD|Grow Africa, OCP, The Rockefeller Foundation, SACAU, Syngenta, UKAID, UPL and Yara.
Technical Partners: Tanager, Generation Africa, International Finance Corporation (IFC), Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF), CASA, CrossBoundary, The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), The Tony Blair Institute for Global Change (TBI), the World Economic Forum (WEF), KPMG, The Smallholder and Agri-SME Finance and Investment Network (SAFIN), Bonrezo.
Notes to Editors
Initially established as an annual “African Green Revolution Conference” by Yara International ASA in Norway in 2006, the conference moved to the African continent in 2010 with the championing of the late Kofi Annan to take an African identity as the African Green Revolution Forum. This ensured the leadership and broader engagement of African stakeholders in the continent’s agricultural transformation agenda. The forum now consists of an annual event combined with thematic platforms and many activities throughout the year to ensure continuous progress over time. It has cultivated an unrivalled power to convene top leaders, implementers, thinkers, and investors in African agriculture across private, public, development and non-profit partners, academic and research sectors. Learn more about AGRF.
This article was originally published by AGRA.