Fund Seeks to Invest in the West African Seed Industry
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
The West Africa Agricultural Investment Fund (“WAAIF”) and Injaro Investments Limited (“Injaro”) Monday announced the First Closing of the first ever West African fund focused on investing in indigenous seed production companies.
The initial investors in the fund are The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and the Lundin For Africa Society, a Vancouver-based foundation. The launch of the fund will provide capital that is desperately needed by West Africa’s critical but nascent seed production industry.
“The sole purpose of WAAIF is to provide high quality seeds to smallholder farmers in West Africa, thereby improving income and quality of life,” said Dr. Namanga Ngongi, President of AGRA. “Direct investment in local seed companies will allow West African enterprises, working with local public crop breeders and local farmers, to act as a catalyst for prosperity amongst smallholder farmers.”
A joint statement by the partners said WAAIF is the first fund of its kind in West Africa: targeted specifically at promoting the growth of small- and medium-sized African seed companies through long-term loans provided at reasonable rates. WAAIF will thus fill a critical funding gap in West African agricultural development-financing for its seriously underdeveloped and undercapitalized seed sector.
Across West Africa there are around 20 small-to-medium sized seed companies, compared to over 50 in East and Southern Africa and the hundreds that operate in Europe or in the United States. To help fill this gap, WAAIF will initially operate in five countries-Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Niger, and Nigeria.