IFC Support for Country Bird's Expansion Encourages Agribusiness, Employment in Southern Africa
WASHINGTON, May 3, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today announced a convertible loan of $25 million to support poultry producer Country Bird's expansion in Africa. IFC's investment will allow Country
Bird to increase production and operations; encouraging a thriving
agribusiness enterprise and creating employment opportunities in Southern Africa and beyond.
With operations including South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Zambia, Country Bird's business comprises poultry breeding, broiler production, stock feed, and processing. IFC funding will support Country Bird increase chick production over the next three years in Zambia and Botswana, expand feed mill capacity in Zambia, and add poultry processing facilities and two soybean plants in South Africa.
Country Bird's expansion will provide more affordable proteins in Southern Africa, create jobs in the rural areas where the company operates, and increase revenues for its 21,500 maize farmers and 112,000 workers employed through the company's supply chain.
Kevin James, Founder of Country Bird, said “In just a decade since we started operations, Country Bird has become the third largest integrated poultry producer in South Africa. We are seeking to expand our production, so we can meet increasing consumer demand in the region. IFC's investment supports Country Bird's growth and our goal to provide more affordable proteins in Southern Africa.”
With increasing urbanization and disposable incomes, per capita meat consumption is expected to double in Africa by 2030, particularly that of poultry, which is cheaper relative to other meats.
Saleem Karimjee, IFC Senior Country Manager for Southern Africa, said, “IFC is committed to investing in companies like Country Bird that catalyze growth in this important sector. Africa needs dynamic regional agribusiness companies that help encourage competitiveness and can expand successful models outside their home markets.”
Agriculture accounts for one third to one half of GDP in most African countries, and 80 percent of the poor in Africa live in rural areas.
Promoting agribusiness in Africa is a key priority for IFC as is food security, given that the sector employs a large percentage of Africa's labor force, and has a strong impact on micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. We help developing countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, mobilizing capital in international financial markets, and providing advisory services to businesses and governments. In FY12, our investments reached an all-time high of more than $20 billion, leveraging the power of the private sector to create jobs, spark innovation, and tackle the world's most pressing development challenges. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.