The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), Africa’s foremost multilateral trade finance institution, has approved a $400-million revolving global credit facility agreement for the Export Trading Group (ETG), one of the largest and fastest-growing integrated agricultural conglomerates in Africa. The agreement will enable ETG to keep playing its vital role in the agri-foods supply chain of efficiently connecting African farmers to markets, as well as expanding access to key inputs to boost agricultural productivity in a continent with tremendous but yet unrealized potential.
According to Afreximbank’s estimates, Africa spent over $90 billion on food imports in 2019, even though it possesses up to 60 percent of the world’s remaining arable land. Moreover, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that up to 50 percent of Africa’s agricultural production is lost every year from farm-to-market due to problems ranging from sub-optimal use of inputs to improper post-harvest storage, processing and transportation facilities. These challenges have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has disrupted supply chains, heightened price volatility and could further undermine household consumption.
The facility provided by Afreximbank will address key bottlenecks faced by African agricultural exporters, aggregating large values of produce in order to give small and medium-scale enterprises access to regional and international markets. Expanding ETG’s work in this area will reduce post-harvest losses through better access to yield-enhancing inputs and more robust networks to get output to regional and international markets while helping boost the scale and productivity of African farmers to position Africa as the world’s bread basket. It will also support the vital flow of food supplies across the continent amid the disruption triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic.
ETG is focused on uplifting farming communities by connecting smallholder farmers with international markets, expanding mechanization and processing capabilities, and increasing knowledge around quality inputs, irrigation, post-harvest techniques and yield-enhancing practices.
Kanayo Awani, Managing Director of Afreximbank’s Intra-African Trade Initiative, said Afreximbank remains committed to supporting African nations navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. She added that the Bank remains focused on boosting agricultural productivity and accelerating the diversification of exports to strengthen the resilience of African economies.
According to her, the facility will not only support African farmers through the disruption caused by the pandemic but will provide added impetus to ETG’s vital work connecting the continent’s small and medium businesses to the agricultural networks and avenues critical for growth. “With the African Continental Free Trade Agreement on the horizon, the timing is opportune to shape a more productive and resilient agricultural sector—delivering both prosperity and food security for the continent’s future,” Awani said.