WORLD BANK has reiterated its pledge to invest a whooping $50 billion in Transforming Africa’s Digital Economy and increasing its funding for food security initiatives by 25 percent as the MasterCard Foundation announced a new US$500 million for its Young Africa Works initiative.
These were revealed as the curtain was drawn over the African Green Revolution Forum 2019 which took place in Accra, Ghana from 3rd to 6th September, 2019.
The President of the MasterCard Foundation, Reeta Roy, announced a “new US $500 million commitment within its Young Africa Works initiative, which will support efforts of young entrepreneurs across the continent to develop economic opportunities in agriculture. Through Young Africa Works, the Foundation will endeavor to help millions of young Africans to find meaningful employment in agriculture. The new investment will raise the Foundation’s total commitments to African agriculture to US $1 billion”.
In the same vein, the World Bank reiterated a recent pledge to “invest US $50 billion in Transforming Africa’s Digital Economy, as well as noted its plans to increase funding for food security initiatives by 25 percent relative to 2017 investments, for a total of $33 billion in funding over the next four years. The Bank is committed to ensuring every African, including every African business and government, is digitally enabled by 2030. The digital investments will focus on foundational elements of the digital economy that will be crucial to realizing the potential of digital agriculture services. They include support for broadband infrastructure; digital skill development; digital platforms; digital financial services; and digital entrepreneurship. One key goal is to double access to broadband services across the continent by 2021”.
This year’s AGRF featured a vibrant Agribusiness Deal Room that was a hub of activity, securing the Forum as a prime venue for connecting innovators with critically needed capital.
“Private and public sector stakeholders executed commitments worth over $200 million to develop and strengthen several value chains in Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Uganda and Eswatini. Companies involved included Dangote Farms Ltd. of Nigeria, Press Agriculture Ltd of Malawi, Pearl Dairies Ltd. of Uganda, and Fresh Ltd. of Mozambique and Eswatini. In addition, a Unilever-IDH partnership committed $28.6 millions towards investments in small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) working in variety of food-related endeavors.
“Some 17 country delegations presented investment opportunities worth in excess of $2 billion. The proposed investments, coupled with support from various stakeholders, is anticipated to impact more than 15,000 smallholder farmers and create seven million jobs.
“The Agribusiness Deal Room at the AGRF was made possible with the support of core design partners, including the African Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF), AGRA, the African Development Bank (AfDB), CrossBoundary, GAIN, GrowAfrica, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, and the US Agency for International Development (USAID). The Deal Room also received advisory support from the World Economic Forum (WEF)”. Stated as part of the communiqué heralding the end of the 2019 African Green Revolution Forum, AGRF