BY DAYO ADESULU
The Africa Investment Forum held a roundtable event to preview two agribusiness deals worth nearly $400 million as part of the lead-in to its upcoming 2021 Market Days.
The investment opportunities, drawn from the Africa Investment Forum’s pipeline, will be presented in full during the Market Days, to be held from December 1-3 in Abidjan. The virtual roundtable, organized by the Atlantic Council, took place on Thursday 7 October 2021.
During the roundtable, members of the AIF team presented an outline of the deals to investors.
As a sector, agriculture has been under-supported by investment to date, and the Africa Investment Forum’s vision is to be a catalyst for significant investment
The first one, which requires $345 million in the capital, entails the construction and operation of a food market that will serve about 15 million people in an area projected to be Africa’s largest food exchange zone. It would also serve as a marketplace where farmers bring in produce to sell to potential customers at retail or wholesale prices. As well as farmers, the food market will provide livelihood opportunities for fishers, meat and dairy producers and wholesalers.
The second showcased deal involves the scaling up of a dairy milk production and packaging company in a Southern African Development Community country. The project sponsors have a good operational record in the agriculture sector, and they have secured an off-take agreement with a major international food and beverage company for milk production. The deal, valued at $50.2 million, has strategic value for the national government and provides an opportunity for local production of a commodity that is typically imported. There is also potential for job creation and local development of skills.
The roundtable also featured a panel discussion with Begna Gebreyes, Senior VP, Africa Finance Corporation; Deji Adebusoye, Principal, Sahel Capital; and Nimrod Gerber, Managing Partner, Vital Capital. Panellists discussed Africa’s role in global supply chains, bottlenecks to agricultural productivity, infrastructure limitations and other issues relevant to the agri-business sector. They agreed that Africa continues to lack the processing capacity to add value to its raw materials, with cocoa being cited as an example.
Agriculture and agri-business are one of five priority investment sectors under the Africa Investment Forum’s Unified Response to Covid-19 pillars (bit.ly/3luNb1P), in addition to energy and climate change, health, ICT/Telecoms, and industrialization and trade.
Africa Investment Forum Senior Director Chinelo Anohu said, “Agriculture is one of the pillars of the African economy: it is the key employer and is fundamental to transforming rural areas, reducing poverty, and facilitating economic growth. As a sector, agriculture has been under-supported by investment to date, and the Africa Investment Forum’s vision is to be a catalyst for significant investment to facilitate growth over the next decade, to improve productivity and incomes in an equitable and sustainable manner.”