Yesterday in Cairo, Afreximbank made a significant move towards improving food security in Africa. They entered into a framework agreement for the Export Agriculture for Food Security (ExAFS) Initiative with ARISE Integrated Industrial Platforms (ARISE IIP) and the governments of Malawi, Chad, Zimbabwe, and Egypt. This initiative aims to boost food security on the continent.
The agreement was signed during a ceremony at the third Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF2023) by Prof. Benedict Oramah, the President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Afreximbank. Other notable signers included government officials and the CEO of ARISE IIP.
Afreximbank, in collaboration with strategic partners and member countries, has committed a substantial amount of US$2 billion to support the implementation of the ExAFS initiative. This funding will be used to enhance production, processing, and intra-African trade in agricultural products. It will also create opportunities for African farmers and agribusinesses to access larger markets across the continent.
The main goal of the ExAFS initiative is to address food insecurity in Africa, which currently has a high hunger rate of nearly 20 percent. By reducing dependence on other regions for essential food commodities, this initiative will contribute to improving the situation. Additionally, ExAFS aims to increase sales, secure better prices, and enhance profitability for stakeholders in Africa’s agricultural value chain.
To achieve these objectives, the initiative will establish agricultural transformation centers (ATCs) in agricultural production zones. These centers, operating under a public-private partnership model, will serve as collection, sorting, storage, and transportation facilities for agricultural produce from farming communities. The ATCs will also provide additional services to farmers, including cold storage facilities, micro finance, basic social services, training and extension services .
Afreximbank is all set to take on the role of financier, facilitator, and advisor. They will be leading the way in implementing partnership activities. On the other hand, the governments of Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Chad will be playing the crucial role of policy enablers. Their main responsibility will be to create a conducive environment for the ATCs.
When it comes to investment, the ATC anchor investors, including zone developers, large scale commercial farmers, seed companies, and development finance institutions, will be the ones putting their money into the ATCs and the necessary infrastructure. They will also be the primary purchasers and aggregators in the origin markets.
As for the anchor buyers, the Government of Egypt will be taking the lead. They will be the primary export markets for the agricultural produce. With this collaborative effort, we can expect great things to happen in the agricultural sector!