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African Development Bank (AfDB) Supports Young Africans in Agricultural Sector

By Kester Kenn Klomegah
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In further efforts to contribute to poverty reduction and economic and social development in African countries, the African Development Bank (AfDB) is again set to support young African agripreneurs by providing concessional funding for their projects and push for capacity-building activities through competition.

According to the media release, twenty-five young African agripreneurs have advanced to the final round of the African Development Bank’s AgriPitch competition, stepping closer to a share of US$120,000 in seed funding prizes, training and other benefits.

AgriPitch organizers received more than 2,500 applications and evaluated 605 proposals from 30 countries under the theme of “Driving Sustainable Nutrition and Gender Inclusivity in Africa’s Agri-Food Systems: Youth Agripreneurs Seize the Decade.”

The final round offers young entrepreneurs in Africa’s agricultural sector the opportunity to pitch their agribusiness proposals online to a panel of experts and investors who will select the winners.

The finalists are from 12 African countries, and all aged under 35.They were selected under the competition’s “Startup,” “Mature Business” and “Women-Empowered Business” categories.

Those selected in the “Startup” category are Agripoa (Tanzania), Bringo Fresh (Uganda), Digifarms Africa (Cameroon), Farm Kiosk (Uganda), Farmspeak Technology (Nigeria), One Kiosk (Nigeria), Premium Hortus (Benin), Releaf (Nigeria), Solar Freeze (Kenya), and Tropic Coffee Company (Rwanda).

The “Mature Business” finalists are Agwenda Investments (Malawi), Bee Happy Enterprises (Kenya), Carl Group (Rwanda), Dasfarm (Ghana), Foodlocker (Nigeria), Herdy (Kenya), Lentera (Kenya), Lono (Ivory Coast), Stawi Foods (Kenya), and Tilaa (Ghana), while the “Women-Empowered Business” finalists are AquaFarms Africa (Guinea), Baby Grubz (Nigeria), Farmz2U (Nigeria), INVXT Agro Investimentos (Mozambique), and Mhogo Foods (Kenya).

Finalists are now enrolled in the AYAF/AgriPitch online training platform, a two-week business development bootcamp, before pitching at the winners’ ceremony on November 16 and 17.

“It is encouraging to see that almost 62 per cent of all AgriPitch 2020 applicants self-described as being women-led businesses or having women make up at least 50 per cent of their management,” said Wambui Gichuri, the AfDB’s acting vice president for agriculture, human and social development.

“Word is spreading that AgriPitch is the competition where all qualified agripreneurs can get the training and support to grow their businesses.”

The AfDB is a financial provider to African governments and private companies investing in the regional member countries (RMC). Since its founding, AfDB has financed 2,885 operations, for a total of $47.5 billion. The African Development Bank Group has two other entities: the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF).