Nourishing Africa and Aceli Africa, a market incentive facility that unlocks capital for SMEs, have entered a partnership to provide financial assistance and technical support to investment ready agri-SMEs in East Africa.
The partnership will see Aceli introduce Nourishing Africa members to its network of private sector lenders in Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. The partnership will also facilitate technical assistance to expand the ability of investment-ready agri-SMEs in the region to qualify for and manage financing.
Nourishing Africa Co-CEO Ify Umunna said the partnership will see agri-SMEs in East Africa access opportunities to market, funding, and capacity building needed to run and scale their enterprises, and contribute to the growth of the African agricultural sector.
"Our partnership with Aceli will go a long way in providing the critical support many SMEs require especially during the difficult COVID-19 pandemic period. It is our hope that this partnership will significantly contribute to the improvement of the continent's food production and food security," she said.
Aceli's CEO Brian Milder said “we share Nourishing Africa’s vision of empowering Africa’s small entrepreneurs who play a critical role in the continent’s food production.”
He lauded the partnership, terming it an important step towards improving financial inclusion of SMEs in Africa who have often been overlooked by financial lending institutions.
The Aceli partnership is the latest effort by Nourishing Africa to help African agri-food entrepreneurs to scale their businesses. In January this year, the organization launched the Entrepreneur Support Program (ESP) with Mastercard Foundation and United States African Development Foundation (USADF) to provide training and small grants to agri-SMEs in Nigeria. The program aims at enabling agri-SMEs in the West African country to remain resilient amidst the economic challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Africa, SMEs remain the main drivers of economies. World Bank estimates that the SME sector accounts for more than 80% of all businesses and employs the vast majority of the continent’s labour force. However, these SMEs are stifled by limited access to finance among other barriers, forcing most of them to collapse within their first few years of establishment.
About Nourishing Africa
Nourishing Africa is a digital membership and knowledge platform focused on supporting agri-food entrepreneurs to scale. The Hub serves as a platform for these stakeholders to accelerate their work, connect with each other, and celebrate their successes on the continent. The portal includes information about data, funding, African food and chefs, career opportunities, and other resources to develop one's career in the agri/food industry. More information: www.nourishingafrica.com
About Aceli Africa
Aceli Africa is a market incentive facility that unlocks capital for agricultural small- and medium-enterprises (SMEs) in East Africa. Informed by original data on the economics of agri-SME lending, Aceli Africa is designed to align capital supply and demand to mobilize $700M in lending to agri-SMEs while creating a more sustainable and competitive marketplace. More information: www.aceliafrica.org