The African Development Bank (AfDB) and other development partners have reiterated their commitment to the growth of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Africa.

The development partners addressed the challenges in agricultural lending to small and medium enterprises as they launched the 2021 African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) Agribusiness Deal Room online.

Development Diaries understands that the AGRF’s agriculture matchmaking platform initiative links some 4,000 actors in the agriculture sector to investment and networking opportunities.

Organised by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, this fourth edition of the Agribusiness Deal Room will be featured at the annual AGRF Summit that convenes stakeholders to facilitate partnerships and investments in African agriculture.

The Agribusiness Deal Room specifically supports governments and companies with access to finance and partnership opportunities.

AfDB’s incoming Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development, Beth Dunford, said that the AfDB was excited to grow its partnership to this initiative.

‘The Agribusiness Deal Room compliments our efforts to expand finance for agribusiness to enable small and medium enterprises to grow and attract new and innovative sources of sustainable capital’, she told the online audience.

Dunford also said that across Africa, there was a growing class of ‘agripreneurs’ who are looking for investment, partnerships, technical knowhow and financing to scale up their business.

According to Dunford, the platform aligns with the bank’s Feed Africa Strategy, which seeks to ensure that the growth of the agricultural sector includes food security, and encourages inclusive growth by involving more women and youths.

‘In my new capacity with the bank, I am looking forward to working with the AGRF and so many partners with us online, to see these food systems become more sustainable and more resilient’, she added.

The AfDB is one of 24 Agribusiness Deal Room partners that bring complementary capabilities, resources, and networks to the platform.

‘The huge potential of the agricultural sector on the continent remains unmet, with agriculture potentially the engine of African economies’, AGRA Deputy President, Fadel Ndiame, said.

‘We designed the Deal Room to build the capacities of SMEs while at the same time connecting them with sources of financing.

‘We are looking for investments and partnerships that will unlock the sector’s potential’.

Also speaking, the Director for Agricultural Finance and Rural Infrastructure Development, Atsuko Toda, said that these often under-the-radar businesses play a key role in delivering food to African tables and in generating employment.

‘SMEs are the engine of growth for food supply chains. If you look at any food supply chain, between 65–90 percent of the food supply is actually through small and medium enterprises’, Toda said.

Source: AfDB

Photo source: Meaduva

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