CONTINENTAL lender the African Development Bank (AfDB) is partnering with several stakeholders to design a pan-African private equity fund for agriculture to be known as the Fund for Agricultural Finance in Africa (Fafina).
Currently Africa’s premier development finance institution, the AfDB comprises of 54 regional and 27 non-regional member countries, with Nigeria being its largest shareholder. Founded in 1964, the AfDB was created to spur sustainable economic development and social progress across the African continent, contributing to poverty reduction.
Now looking to expand African agriculture, the AfDB is planning to scale up its, interventions to support small and medium sized food and agribusiness companies across the continent. Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, the AfDB president, revealed this yesterday when he presented the keynote address during a virtual ceremony to mark the 10th Anniversary of the Sahel Capital, that has mobilised $65.9m for Nigeria’s first Private Equity Fund, Fafin, dedicated to small and medium sized agribusinesses.
Dr Adesina said: “Experiences from Sahel Capital on the Fafin fund will help as we now scale up interventions to support small and medium sized food and agribusiness companies across Africa. Following a very transparent, international and globally competitive bidding process, Sahel Capital was selected to manage the Fafin fund.
“We were impressed by Sahel Capital but I insisted they had to open a special window for agriculture. I found in Sahel Capital a passion, a drive and commitment to Nigeria’s agribusinesses and farmers.”
He noted that one of the Sahel Capital’s investments that impressed him the most was one that expanded dairy production in Kano State at the time the ShopRite supermarkets in Lagos imported their entire fresh dairy from South Africa. Dr Adesina described the Sahel Capital as a product of the power of vision, tenacity, diligence and ability to stay focused on delivering results.
He added that the Sahel Capital was part of the success story of his effort to transform agriculture during his tenure as Nigeria’s agriculture minister. Dr Adesina said that agriculture is Africa’s number one comparative advantage and that transforming agriculture is the fastest way to create wealth and jobs in the continent.