Three Leading Organizations in Africa and the Mastercard Foundation Partner to Improve Livelihoods for 1.1 Million African Smallholder Farmers
The Foundation has committed a total of US$38.3 million to AgDevCo, ICCO Cooperation, and Root Capital for programs to improve productivity and market access for farmers in 11 African countries.
Dakar, Senegal, March 6, 2017 — Three of the leading organizations in Africa working with smallholder farmers today joined the Mastercard Foundation to reaffirm their commitment to provide farmers with more of the financial resources and agribusiness connections they need to succeed.
At a one-day workshop and learning event in Dakar, the partners outlined how the work they are conducting has already led to improvements for farmers in Africa. As well, ICCO Cooperation used the occasion to launch its STARS (Strengthening African Rural Smallholders) program in Senegal, after recent launches in Rwanda, Ethiopia, and Burkina Faso.
Collectively, these three organizations are expanding their support to improve the lives of a minimum of 1.1 million farmers in 11 countries: Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.
“Smallholder farmers in Africa, need special attention to increase productivity and break out of their subsistence operation,” said Ann Miles, Director of Financial Inclusion at the Mastercard Foundation.
“We’re proud to work with such strong partners as AgDevCo, ICCO Cooperation, and Root Capital to enable smallholders to produce more, sell better, and work with local organizations in markets that are fair, transparent, and sustainable.”
Through its partnerships with AgDevCo, ICCO Cooperation, and Root Capital, the Mastercard Foundation supports multiple activities in the 11 countries. These activities include:
- providing training and better quality inputs to farmers
- implementing mobile technology solutions
- brokering long-term purchase contracts
- supporting high-impact, early-stage agricultural businesses with capital needs under $150,000 and/or business revenues under $300,000
- developing and implementing innovative risk-mitigation tools, and
- developing new agricultural finance products and services for smallholder farmers.
“Linking smallholder farmers to profitable markets is one of the best ways of lifting large numbers of people out of poverty”, said Chris Isaac, Director of Investments at AgDevCo. “The Mastercard Foundation’s support will allow AgDevCo to connect our SME investees – socially responsible faming and agri-processing enterprises in Africa – to hundreds of thousands of farmers, to boost productivity, lift incomes and improve food security”.
“The STARS program is supporting rural smallholder farmers, mostly women, to access tailor made financial services,” said Netlyn Bernard, STARS Director. “We are using the “Making Markets Work for the Poor” (M4P) approach to ensure that through capacity building and access to finance they can adopt sustainable agri-business methods and be competitive in the market. We believe that given the right opportunities and tools, farmers can become effective entrepreneurs, increase their income and therefore improve the economic situation of their households and of their communities.”
“Our partnership with the Mastercard Foundation enables us to increasingly target earlier-stage businesses in Africa operating on the fringes of financial inclusion,” said Mireille William, acting General Manager for Root Capital in West Africa. “Together, we’re committed to providing these high-impact businesses with the capital and training they need to become engines of impact in their communities.”
The three partnerships are part of the Mastercard Foundation’s portfolio of work supporting smallholder farmers in Africa. To date, the Foundation has committed more than US$300 million to support agricultural initiatives (including US$175 million for rural and agricultural finance projects). For more information on the Foundation’s work in agriculture and rural finance, visit http://localhost/mcf/our-rural-and-agricultural-finance-strategy
AgDevCo is a social impact investor and agribusiness project developer, incorporated in the United Kingdom. With support from UKAid, AgDevCo invests patient capital in the form of debt and equity into early-stage agribusinesses. AgDevCo’s mission is to reduce poverty and improve food security. It has invested over USD 90 million in 59 agribusinesses in sub-Saharan Africa to date, connecting tens of thousands of farmers to markets and generating over 3,000 jobs. For more information, visit www.agdevco.com
About Root Capital
Root Capital is an impact investing pioneer that grows rural prosperity in poor, environmentally vulnerable places in Africa, Asia, and Latin America by providing capital, delivering financial training, and strengthening market connections for small and growing agricultural businesses. Since 1999, Root Capital has disbursed over $1 billion in credit to 623 businesses, who in turn positively impact 1.2 million smallholder farmers. Root Capital’s clients produce dozens of different agricultural products, from coffee, cocoa, and cashews, to wild-harvested products like natural gums and shea butter. For specific client examples, see: http://www.rootcapital.org/portfolio
About ICCO Cooperation
ICCO Cooperation is a global, non-governmental organization that works towards a world in which people can live in dignity and well-being, a world without poverty and injustice. From a coherent theory of change ICCO Cooperation designs, manages, implements and finances programs for inclusive development with focus on economic empowerment of smallholders, food and nutrition security and responsible business. ICCO Cooperation offers brokering services for public private partnerships and is experienced in working with a wide range of financial instruments: microfinance (ICCO Terrafina MicroFinance), impact investments (ICCO Investments) and co-entrepreneurship (Agribusiness Booster). www.icco-cooperation.org
About The MasterCard Foundation
The MasterCard Foundation works with visionary organizations to provide greater access to education, skills training and financial services for people living in poverty, primarily in Africa. As one of the largest private foundations, its work is guided by its mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion to create an inclusive and equitable world. Based in Toronto, Canada, its independence was established by Mastercard when the Foundation was created in 2006. For more information and to sign up for the Foundation’s newsletter, please visit www.mastercardfdn.org. Follow the Foundation on Twitter at @MastercardFdn.
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