The AECF (formerly the “Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund”) is an African development funder that supports innovative commercial businesses with the aim of reducing rural poverty, promoting resilient communities, and creating jobs through private sector development.
The AECF has raised over US$ 392 million to date and provides catalytic funding and technical advisory support to enterprises in 26 countries in sub-Saharan Africa by investing in businesses that struggle to meet traditional risk-return standards for commercial investors. In just over a decade, we have supported 343 impact focused businesses, impacted more than 28 million lives, created close to 25,898 direct jobs, and leveraged over US $753.8 million in matching funds.
In 2021, the AECF launched a new strategy with the objective to build resilience and sustainable incomes for rural and marginalised communities in Africa. Through catalytic funding, we help surface and commercialize new ideas, business models, companies and technologies designed to increase agricultural productivity, expand energy access, and alleviate poverty while also addressing the crosscutting themes of women, youth, climate change and fragility. AECF is committed to working in frontier markets, fragile contexts, and high-risk economies where few mainstream financing institutions dare to go.
We provide patient capital to new and innovative business models in the agribusiness and renewable energy sectors across Sub-Saharan Africa through various financing instruments, which include grants, zero-interest loans, guarantees, and working capital facilities.
We provide a range of advisory services to the enterprises that we finance, either embedded within the fund management process or through the advisory studio (with a suite of standardized or bespoke technical advisory offerings for business growth) to improve investee internal capabilities.
For investees moving towards commercial finance, we provide matchmaking services. This includes technical and financial services to prepare companies to approach the market (investment readiness) and to facilitate connections with potential investors (investment facilitation). To date, we have mobilized additional US$45 million from other investors.
With experience spanning over 10 years, there is a lot to share, and it is important for us to share the knowledge with the ecosystem, our donors, and partners.