AGRA partners with Aceli Africa to support African agribusiness SMEs

AGRA has announced a partnership with Aceli Africa to enhance capital flows to SMEs in the agriculture sector and support a financially inclusive agricultural transformation across Africa.

AGRA and Aceli have signed a letter of intent committing to jointly work together to test and scale up innovations that substantially drive down the cost and risk of financing SMEs in the agriculture space.

Aceli Africa is a market incentive facility that offers financial incentives to mitigate risk and compensate lenders for the transaction costs of serving high-impact agricultural SMEs. Aceli plans to support its 25 lending partners in mobilizing $700 million in financing for agri-SMEs by 2025 with a focus on SMEs that are gender inclusive, improve food security, and practice climate-smart agriculture.

“AGRA firmly believes that it is vital to unlock the potential of SMEs for agricultural transformation across Africa. This partnership with Aceli is a step in this direction, as the increased capital flows & technical assistance will enable the SMEs to unleash their potential and offer better services to smallholder farmers. This partnership will also work on implementing digital solutions to make financial record keeping and reporting more efficient and reliable which will improve the bankability of the SMEs.” Vanessa Adams, Vice president Strategic Partnerships with AGRA.

Aceli Africa CEO Brian Milder: “Aceli Africa shares AGRA’s vision for an inclusive and sustainable agricultural transformation that creates economic opportunities, builds a resilient regional food system, and stewards the natural environment. Achieving this vision is only possible if we can unlock the growth and impact potential of agricultural SMEs. Building on AGRA’s leading role as a convener and advocate and Aceli’s data-driven approach to mobilizing private sector lending, together we can address the longstanding barriers that limit the flow of capital to agricultural SMEs.”

AGRA and Aceli are like-minded institutions that will partner specifically in promoting innovations that address the barriers to capital flowing to agricultural SMEs at scale. With today’s announcement, AGRA and Aceli Africa also announce the first call for an Innovation Challenge for sustainable, scalable, and innovative business development solutions to improve the quality of financial statements among agricultural SMEs.

“As AGRA we want agricultural SMEs to grow and for that growth access to finance is key. Our partnership with Aceli Africa seeks to address the root cause of the lesser return on Agri SME finance by investing in innovations that reduce the cost and risk of financing smaller SMEs“ said Hedwig Siewertsen, Head Innovative Finance.

Aceli’s Head of Partnerships Christabell Makokha: “Aceli is thrilled to partner with AGRA in promoting innovations that will lower transaction costs for lenders to serve agricultural SMEs. Agri-SMEs play a critical role in ensuring more inclusive and sustainable food systems, yet they remain significantly underserved. The AGRA-Aceli Innovation Challenge announced today leverages the expertise of both organizations to identify and support creative solutions to bridge the gap between capital supply and demand.”

Through the collaboration, Aceli and its network of private sector lending partners will also contribute to AGRA’s work to connect SMEs to capital providers through the Agribusiness Deal Room to support SMEs.

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