Blended Finance Boosts West Africa’s Private Sector
The private sector and the USAID West Africa Trade & Investment Hub are collaborating to boost food security, improve agri-business, address climate change, and generate well-paying employment in the region. The Trade Hub’s blended finance model supports 86 public-private partnerships that have leveraged more than $170 million in private capital in 23 value chains.
Improving Food Security
As many as 38 million people in West Africa face food insecurity – and the risk is growing because of conflict, the Covid-19 pandemic and drought. By supporting innovative private sector initiatives, the Trade Hub seeks to expand business operations, increase productivity, and support smallholder farmers’ growth. In Nigeria, for example, Nalmaco, Thrive Agric, and Adefunke Desh invested about $11.4 million in inputs (such as improved, high-yield climate resistant seed varieties, fertilizers and specific crop blends and crop protection products) for 23,600 farmers during the planting season.
Boosting Employment Among Women and Youth
The Trade Hub is on track to achieve its target of creating 73,000 new, well-paying private sector jobs, with half dedicated to women and youth. Its two-pronged integration strategy – equal access to productive resources and the empowerment of women and youth – prioritizes co-investments that demonstrate sustainable outcomes for these two under-served groups. In addition to employment, the Trade Hub makes the business case to include women and youth as partners in order to capture their innovation and co-ownership.
Building Regional Resilience to Climate Change
Agriculture is a leading sector to generate synergies for climate adaptation and mitigation. The Trade Hub’s partnerships promote sustainable agricultural practices by working with high-performing companies that finance and share expertise in climate adaptation, among other efforts, with an emphasis on smallholder farmers. Many partners provide access to better inputs and information on climate-smart natural resource management, such as improved conservation and access to clean water. Grantees submit and follow a climate adaptation plan that has benchmarks.
Fostering Agri-Business Competitiveness and Productivity
Ensuring that agri-businesses of all sizes have access to finance, technology and improved value chain management are keys to their success. The Trade Hub is making strategic investments that lead to the creation of large-scale jobs, increased productivity, and greater access to agricultural services. These co-investment partners support improved farm supplies, services, and technology delivery to smallholder farmers across the region
Boosting Regional & International Exports
West African businesses have two excellent growth opportunities – exports to the United States through the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) trade preference program and trade among other countries in the region. The Trade Hub’s co-investments and technical support to nearly 50 companies have resulted in almost $20 million in exports, with more to come.