Président de la Commission de l’Union Africaine (depuis le 1er. février 2008)
Major boost to business and job prospects in agriculture and finance Britain’s Department for International Development (DFID) has announced the contribution of $20-million to the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) set up to support innovative business ventures in Africa’s agriculture and finance sectors.
The AECF, which will provide match-funding for business innovations that improve the economic prospects of the most excluded in Africa, as employees, entrepreneurs or consumers, will become operational in early 2008.
It will offer grants of up to $1.5 million to businesses that provide innovative proposals for improving people’s chances to take part in economic activity, particularly in the areas of finance and agriculture. Seventy per cent of Africans work in agriculture.
Other donors who have already committed to support the fund include the African Development Bank, the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs is also a part of the Donor Steering Group.
A statement from the DFID notes that : “The AECF is an important part of DFID’s response to Africa’s agriculture agenda, helping business play a part in fulfilling the objectives of the African Union’s NEPAD Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).
Commenting on the DFID announcement, Prof. Richard Mkandawire, NEPAD agriculture advisor, said :
“The Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund is a welcome development to NEPAD’s CAADP agenda and its commitment to deepening the participation of the private sector in African agriculture.
“The fund will go a long way towards supporting the CAADP agenda, more particularly in the development of public private partnerships and business to business alliances as well as both regional trade and access to international markets by African farmers.
“It will provide additional impetus to Africa’s recent economic recovery. Indeed we are delighted to note that exports have started to grow in a number of countries in Africa, fuelled by major technological breakthroughs in the agricultural sector, including the development of a robust agribusiness”. Source : NEPAD, 14 septembre 2007