Lean data insights: Aggregate report

Despite recent progress and development in the renewable energy sector, energy access challenges persist globally, with over 625 million people lacking access to electricity and an additional 2.1 billion people lacking access to clean cooking, according to 2023 SDG7 progress report. The impacts of climate change and natural catastrophes further compound this especially in sub-Saharan Africa, described as being most vulnerable to climate change. 

Since 2017, AECF (Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund) has been deploying challenge-led investment funds, technical assistance, energy, and advisory service facilities to support inclusive businesses promoting adaptation and mitigation solutions for low-income, underserved, and rural communities in sub-Saharan Africa. Combined, the Renewable Energy and Adaptation Climate Technologies (REACT SSA) programme funded by Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and REACT Household Solar programme funded by Foreign, Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO) have invested and strengthened 101 companies that delivered energy access products and services to over 560,000 households translating to over 2.8 million people, 23,599 MSMEs and supported over 3,800 direct jobs.

In 2021, AECF partnered with 60 Decibels, an independent impact measurement company, to conduct Lean Data studies with end consumers of REACT portfolio companies with the intention of gaining a deeper understanding of if and how increased access to energy and adaptation technologies affects households’ quality of life, mSMEs’ productivity, and creates new opportunities in rural economies. Such studies are also precious in giving voice to consumers, providing critical customer feedback to our investees, and helping them improve customer satisfaction and impact. To us, it offers precious insights to guide our future investments and the depth and breadth of our impacts. To date, 60 Decibels (60dB) has conducted interviews with over 7,000 randomly selected consumers drawn from 25 investees, spread across 9 countries under the REACT portfolio with technologies ranging from clean/improved cooking, solar home systems, mini and micro grids, solar-powered irrigation, e-mobility, and waste management and recycling. 

 

Agribusiness in Africa Window – Round 2 investee showcase

The Agribusiness in Africa Window Round 2 (AAW R2) was a continent-wide window launched in 2014 to support companies to invest in inclusive and innovative business ideas with the potential to increase productivity, employment, livelihood opportunities and incomes amongst the poor in sub-Saharan Africa.

A total of CAD 20 million in funding was committed to the programme, comprising of CAD 15 million from Global Affairs Canada (GAC) and CAD 5 million from the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).

Grant funding was awarded to 19 projects across 11 countries (Kenya, Nigeria, Malawi, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Uganda, and Burundi/DRC), with businesses working in a variety of agriculture value chains, including cashew, fruits, potatoes, moringa, livestock production and digital information services.

Unlocking transport bottlenecks – A case study of DSM Corridor Group Ltd. in Tanzania

Dar es Salaam seaport is Tanzania’s most dominant seaport, serving as a gateway for Tanzania and its neighbours – handling 95% of the country’s international trade as well as transit to landlocked countries across Eastern and Central Africa including Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Malawi, Zambia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The cargo throughput at Dar es Salaam port has fluctuated in recent years but is anticipated to reach 28 million metric tonnes by 2025.

To ensure farmers in Tanzania receive agro-inputs in time, DCG developed unique logistics solutions and cargo handling services that have decongested the port, increased efficiency, and reduced cargo handling times. Through AECF’s Tanzania Agribusiness Window, the company has constructed the Kisarawe dry port and introduced an information management platform, which has helped improve transparency and efficiency, ensuring that farmers acquire agricultural inputs with ease, hence increasing production.

Taking the lead – Boosting agricultural productivity and food security in Sub-Saharan Africa

At AECF, we believe that Africa’s private sector holds the key to accelerating change. Across the continent, agri-focused SMEs are the main drivers of agricultural transformation with agriculture and agribusiness anticipated to become a US$ 1 trillion industry in Africa by 2030, delivering more jobs, income, and economic growth. Supporting efforts to achieve food security and improved incomes for all, many of these SMEs reach smallholder farmers, either directly or indirectly.

Taking the lead – Building a prosperous, enterprising and resilient Africa

AECF targets Small and Growing Businesses (SGBs) with financing needs under US$ 2 million, and in 2021, introduced a lower ticket size category of US$ 25,000 – US$ 100,000 to complement the existing range of US$ 100,000 – US$ 2,000,000 used to date.

Businesses and business proposals are selected based on their commercial viability, innovation, and potential development impact on rural and marginalised communities. To ensure AECF does not crowd out other sources of finance, investees co-finance the total cost of the project, with the exception of youth/women-focused and businesses in fragile contexts.

End of programme report – Agribusiness in Africa Window – Round 2

The Agribusiness in Africa Window Round 2 (AAW R2) was a continent-wide window launched in 2014 to support companies to invest in inclusive and innovative business ideas with the potential to increase productivity, employment, livelihood opportunities, and incomes amongst the poor in sub-Saharan Africa.

A total of CAD 20 million in funding was committed to the programme, comprising of CAD 15 million from Global Affairs Canada (GAC) and CAD 5 million from the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).

Grant funding was awarded to 19 projects across 11 countries (Kenya, Nigeria, Malawi, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Uganda, and Burundi/DRC), with businesses working in a variety of agriculture value chains, including cashew, fruits, potatoes, moringa, livestock production, and digital information services.

The AAW R2 was originally expected to end on December 31, 2020; it was extended by 18 months to complete activities delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The balance of drawdowns, together with uncommitted funds, was converted to a COVID-19 relief fund of US$1.3 million, which provided additional financing to 10 investees at the early stages of the pandemic, based on a competitive application and selection process.

Annual Report 2020

Welcome to our 2020 Annual Report. The theme of this year’s report is Resilience in action: Protecting development gains in a time of crisis highlights the impact of our investees across Sub-Sahara Africa and the lasting change they are bringing to the communities they serve.

Annual Report 2018

AECF is pleased to publish its 2019 Annual Report, which sets out the achievements across its two flagship programmes – agribusiness and renewable energy and adaptation to climate technologies (REACT) – and the further work that lies ahead in supporting pro-poor businesses to reach under-served communities in Africa with essential services, products, and jobs.

Annual Report 2019

AECF is pleased to publish its 2019 Annual Report, which sets out the achievements across its two flagship programmes – agribusiness and renewable energy and adaptation to climate technologies (REACT) – and the further work that lies ahead in supporting pro-poor businesses to reach under-served communities in Africa with essential services, products, and jobs.

Creating opportunities for decent work in the AECF’s agribusiness portfolio

The AECF at ten enters a new phase in its growth. Its focus is still very much on transforming the lives of the rural poor through agriculture and renewable energy, but with a renewed emphasis on those most difficult to reach groups. These have all too often, whether by reason of gender, age or geographical location, failed to benefit sufficiently from the impact of development.

Impact Report 2017

This paper examines the impact that agribusinesses funded by the AECF have had on creating opportunities for decent work. Using a mixture of quantitative and qualitative case studies, the AECF agribusiness portfolio was analyzed to assess how each of these mechanisms operates.

This analysis also examined whether certain types of projects have a greater impact on creating decent work opportunities.