Making African agriculture more attractive for investors

25Jun 2019
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Making African agriculture more attractive for investors

Grow Africa works to increase private sector investment in agriculture, and accelerate the execution and impact of investment commitments.

The aim is to enable countries to realise the potential of the agriculture sector for economic growth and job creation, particularly among farmers, women and youth. 

Through the Country Agribusiness Partnership Framework(CAP-F), Grow Africa brokers collaboration between governments, international and domestic agriculture companies, and smallholder farmers to lower the risk and cost of investing in agriculture, and improve the speed of return to all stakeholders.

Since its launch in 2011, Grow Africa’s impact continues to be broader than figures alone reveal. Backed by its three founding partners, the African Union (AU), the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) and the World Economic Forum (WEF), Grow Africa has been a catalyst in changing thinking about African agriculture, contributing to a recognition among governments and donors that private-sector investment is vital for agricultural transformation to succeed and that public and donor funds can be used to incentivise and increase the impact of private-sector investment.

Agricultural transformation in Africa is a shared interest of public and private sectors and presents a unique opportunity for a new model of partnerships.

The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) provides the framework for partnerships such as Grow Africa to support countries in the implementation of the CAADP programme through their National Agriculture Investment Plans (NAIPs).

Grow Africa’s Business Model

The Grow Africa delivers CAP-F through a six step business model, each step feeding to the next or occurring simultaneously depending on country context.

The first phase begins with convening of multi-stakeholder platforms (MSP) around priority agriculture value chains to align investments from the public and private sector. In the second phase, business case studies are undertaken to identify value chain constraints, opportunities, potential markets for commercialization as well as impact on small holder farmers.

Once opportunities have been identified, the process of match-making and promotion ensues to align opportunities with potential investors/investments.

This is the third phase where national investment forums are organized to attract both domestic and international private sector. Once opportunities have been identified and aligned to potential investors, this sets the scene for the fourth phase, which entails entering into Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) through signing of Term Sheets[1].

The actualization of investment commitments will require substantive groundwork, and therefore, the fifth phase is that of actively working towards realization of investment deals as they would be reflected in Term Sheets.

Grow Africa deploys specialist expertise in-country to facilitate this process. The sixth and final phase is that of mutual accountability and knowledge sharing. This is an ongoing process and feeds into the continental African Union accountability mechanism. Data from this process feeds into the Joint Sector Reviews of respective countries as well as into the CAADP Biennial Review reporting.

Grow Africa Impacts

Established Five Value Chain Multi-stakeholder Platforms in six countries

In line with its business model, Grow Africa has established six (6) new multi-stakeholder platforms in partnership with country stakeholders in Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Malawi and Nigeria, focusing on pineapple, mango, rice, cassava and oilseeds as priority value chains, and partnered six existing platforms in Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Ghana, Nigeria.

The platforms convene key players in the value chain (from farm to fork),support alignment of public and private sector investment priorities, and are the basis for investment mobilisation in prioritised value chains.

Successfully Instituted CAP-F in five countries to support private sector mobilisation under NAIPs

National Agriculture Investment Plans (NAIPs) are country specific vehicles for implementation of the CAADP agenda, and typically outline government vision and strategies for transformation of the agriculture sector.

Grow has successfully supported five countries to institute CAP-F as a mechanism for structured engagement with private sector in agriculture. Ghana and Malawi have instituted CAP-F within their Ministries of Agriculture; Uganda and Nigeria have instituted CAP-F in private sector apex organisations Nigeria Agribusiness Group (NABG) and Uganda Agribusiness Group (UAA), while Senegal’s private sector investment mobilisation drive will be steered by the Investment Promotion Agency (APIX).

With country architecture for structured private sector engagement now effectively in place, Grow Africa will support countries to identify commercial investment opportunities in priority value chains through business cases and match them to potential investors.

An estimated US$30 million worth of potential investments has been identified

In partnership with country stakeholders driving the CAP-F agenda in Malawi and Uganda, Grow Africa hosted Investment Facilitation Conferences in both countries, in March and April 2019 respectively.

Potential investors in key value chains were convened, investment prospects showcased, and robust public-private sector dialogue occasioned on investor challenges and solutions. From these forums, six potential investors were identified, and Grow Africa is supporting the two countries to formalize these potential investments into Term sheets.

Grow Africa is in advanced discussions with an Africa-based company in the coffee industry looking to invest in an agri-processing programme designed to contribute to reshaping the disparities of the African value chain in the coffee sector particularly in Cote d’Ivoire.

The investment will see an improvement of the local coffee variety quality, strengthening of the coffee value chain, profit sharing with local producers (smallholder farmers) and implementation of capacity development initiatives.

Grow Africa has entered into a partnership with John Deere, An American corporation with global footprint specializing in the manufacturing of agricultural, construction and forestry machineryfor potential investment in rice and cassava mechanization in Ghana. The investment will render postharvest, processing and marketing activities more efficient and effective

Looking Ahead

Given Grow Africa’s continental mandate, the programme will continue to support countries to institute the Country Agribusiness Partnership Framework for structured investment mobilisation in agriculture, with a target of reaching 15 AU member states in 2019.

A Term Sheet is a document signed between two or more parties summarizing the principle terms of a proposed investment by a company in a specific country. It is developed for the purpose ofsetting out the terms of proposed investments to facilitate the required approvals from the government as well as other parties to the agreement.