Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 17 November 2016 - The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) mission in Côte d’Ivoire along with the USAID Development Credit Authority (DCA) and social investor Oikocredit today announced a new partnership to support agriculture in West Africa.
The three-year partnership will see USAID DCA provide a guarantee facility of up to US $24 million on loans that Oikocredit will provide in West Africa to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), cooperatives and associations involved in export-oriented (regional and international) agricultural value chains.
Through the guarantee facility the risks of lending are shared and Oikocredit is able to provide more loans, which helps to extend access to finance for smallholder farmers of cashew, cereals, livestock, mango, shea and other agricultural value chains.
Investing in agriculture is one of the most effective ways of reducing rural poverty and improving food security. This partnership with USAID is an essential component of Oikocredit’s agriculture investment strategy in West Africa.
Oikocredit has invested in West Africa for more than 30 years and currently finances partner organizations in Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Senegal and Togo. Oikocredit’s investments in sustainable agriculture provide farmers with the opportunity to participate and compete successfully in local, regional and international markets.
During today’s launch, Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Abidjan said, “The United States has been a leader in catalyzing entrepreneurship globally by developing innovative ecosystems; advocating for stronger business climates; promoting entrepreneurship for women, youth, and marginalized communities; and mobilizing the private sector to expand impact. This credit guarantee is part of a broader range of USG assistance in Côte d’Ivoire and the region, to promote trade and economic growth.”
Oikocredit’s regional director for West Africa, Yves Komaclo, said: “We are very excited to enter into this partnership, which builds on a successful, long-established relationship between Oikocredit and USAID.
“This guarantee facility dedicated to agricultural SMEs will help us securely grow our agriculture portfolio through increased exposure to the cashew, fruit and cereal sectors, which all have strong development impact. It will also support our expansion into plantation rejuvenation projects and facilitate our support of certified smallholder cooperatives and socially responsible SMEs.”
Oikocredit has over 40 years’ experience in funding partner organizations active in inclusive finance (including microfinance), agriculture and renewable energy. Oikocredit’s loans and investments enable people living on low incomes to sustainably improve their living standards. Oikocredit finances more than 790 partners in over 70 countries and its outstanding capital totals € 941 million.
To combat the development challenges and opportunities facing the region, USAID’s West Africa Regional Mission, located in Accra, Ghana, implements innovative regional activities to address trans-boundary issues, as well as activities in countries where there is no USAID mission. Since West African countries often face the same problems, regional activities are designed to complement and enhance country-specific programs. We support regional development in agriculture, energy, trade, governance, environment, health, and stability. For more information about regional programs in West Africa visit https://www.usaid.gov/west-africa-regional.
USAID’s Office of Development Credit Authority (DCA) works with investors, local financial institutions, and development organizations to design and deliver investment alternatives to mobilize local financing for U.S. Government priorities. To date, the DCA has worked with local partners to mobilize $4.8 billion in financing across 76 countries. For more information about DCA visit www.usaid.gov/dca.
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