Driving Private Sector Investments to Enhance Food security in Priority Value Chains in Africa: Case Study of AGRA’s Investment Facilitation Platform

The role of the private sector in helping countries achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has been emphasized.  Concerning agriculture-related goals, the challenges already facing African farmers are 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.  This has given even more urgency to the need for increasing and sustaining private investment in Africa’s agriculture.

As part of this response, AGRA launched the Virtual Agribusiness Deal Room at the African Green Revolution Forum Summit in 2020.  The Deal Room aims to achieve new business deals and commitments by providing companies in the agriculture and agribusiness sectors with access to finance, mentorship, and market entry solutions to support their growth objectives.

An Investment Facilitation Platform Team tracks the progress of conversations emerging from the Deal Room, supporting high potential companies productively engage with investors, address obstacles that could impede financial closure as well as share insights on enabling environment activities that have the potential to catalyse further investment in agricultural transformation.  The mission entails facilitating US$ 1.2 billion of public-private investments, including US $200 million for investments in agriculture.  This is expected to impact the lives of 2.3m smallholder farmers on the continent.

In 2020, the Platform identified eight opportunities for investment in Rwanda, Malawi, Ivory Coast, Mozambique and Ghana.

The Investment Facilitation Platform identified the following high potential transactions that were supported with direct investment advisory, deal monitoring and investor engagement: 

Malawi Dairy:
Investment into a Malawian based producer and distributor of dairy products and beverages.
Ivory Coast Cocoa processor:
Investment by a private equity fund into an Ivorian cocoa liquor processor
Mozambique Corn processor:
Investment into a Corn and Soy processing plant in Mozambique
Malawi Macadamia processor:
Investment into a Macadamia company exporting to Europe and North America
Ivory Coast Cassava processor:
Investment into a cassava processor
Ghana food processor:
Investment into a Ghana based company focused on food processing
Ghana Potatoes:
Opportunity to support an investment into a food processor.

Some of the barriers to investment for the transactions that did not proceed included non-alignment to investor interest (for instance investor sensitivities around confidentiality/ publicity) and inability to carry out due diligence due to travel restrictions. From the above, two transactions emerged with the most attractive potential from commercial and impact perspectives. 

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