A US$10 million grant to support the development of Africa-based innovations to boost African agricultural growth has been announced by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).

Sida Representative, Henrik Riby and AGRA President, Mrs. Jane Karuku formalized the agreement this week in a signing ceremony at the African Green Revolution Forum in Arusha.

The grant is awarded by Sida as part of its program area focused on inclusive business and pro-poor economic growth, with investments that must significantly contribute to poverty reduction and rural development.

“We know that a more effective and professional agriculture sector can make a real difference for millions of people living in poverty in sub-Saharan Africa”, said Henrik Riby. “By sharing the financial risks of private investments in agribusiness, we hope to encourage new sustainable ways of raising rural incomes.”

The grant will be directly channeled to the African Agribusiness Window of African Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF), a fund hosted by AGRA. It will enable Africa-based entrepreneurs to submit new and innovative business solutions to accelerate the development of the agricultural sector in Africa.

The grant is expected to benefit at least an additional 300,000 people with extra income, employment, market access and transfer of know-how.

Between 10-12 winners will be selected and provided with funding to develop their ideas into practical projects that are both commercially viable and will have a broad developmental impact on the rural poor. The projects will have a significant focus on the empowerment of women and environmental sustainability.

“The African Enterprise Challenge Fund is an important contributor to AGRA’s goals and strategy, and its impact will be enhanced with this grant from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency,” said Jane Karuku. “These projects benefit millions of Africa’s rural poor in very practical ways such as jobs, increased income, knowledge transfer and market access.”

The AECF invites private sector companies to compete for investment support for their new and innovative business ideas in agri-business, rural financial services and renewable energy & adaptation to climate change.

Source : africanews.com