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Friday December 19th 2014

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DR Congo, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Somalia/Somaliland Business Competition: Using Innovative Ideas in Agribusiness and Rural Financial Services to Rebuild (Press Release)

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The Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) has launched a new competition for agribusiness and rural financial services for DR Congo, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Somalia/Somaliland. The main funder is the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).

The AECF Competition for DR Congo, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Somalia/Somaliland launched on 15th April 2012 and is now receiving applications for funding. The competition seeks innovative business ideas in agribusiness, financial services and value chains that combine commercial viability with development impact. The funding is done in form of matching grants.

“Although 75 percent of the population in sub-Saharan Africa depends on agriculture for food and for income, the availability of food is still very uncertain and productivity remains low. Companies that could help develop and invest in agriculture are reluctant because of the high risks. With the contribution from Sida some of the risk can be shared, with the hope that companies will be more willing to invest their own capital and borrow money for investment. The investment in turn will then double many times. This means more development for money and more benefits for poor people”, says Charlotte Petri Gornitzka, Director General of Sida.

The AECF will co-fund successful applicants with grants of between US$250,000 and US$1.5 million. Business ideas across the whole agricultural value chain and in all sectors including livestock for example production, processing, input supplies, and logistics as well as rural finance, information and other related service sectors are eligible.

“Investing in the agribusiness sector and funding innovative ways of providing rural financial services in countries that are emerging from conflict is one of the ways of rebuilding the economy. It also provides a source of livelihood for the population”, states Hugh Scott, the AECF director. “The private sector, in partnership with other organizations has the potential to invest and create significant rural employment and generate income. AECF is keen to support private sector investments in agribusiness and related sectors in these countries”.

The competition is open to for-profit companies only, whose ideas will have an impact on the rural poor, increase employment and productivity. African and international companies are invited to download the application form from our website (www.aecfafrica.org/pcw/) and to apply. The applicant can be from anywhere in the world but the project must be implemented in one or more of these countries: DR Congo, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and/or Somalia/Somaliland.

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For information on this competition

Contact the AECF Advisor

Jenny Lofbom

jenny.lofbom@aecfafrica.org

About AECF

The Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) invites private sector companies to compete for investment support for their new and innovative business ideas in agri-business, rural financial services and renewable energy. To qualify for AECF funding, a business idea must have a positive impact on the rural poor in Africa, delivering increased employment, reduced costs, and improved productivity. The AECF runs competitions open only to for-profit-companies. For more information on the AECF please visit www.aecfafrica.org or email info@aecfafrica.org.

About KPMG International Development Advisory Services (IDAS) Africa

With a core team of over 150 professionals across the continent, backed by an extensive network of specialized consultants and the benefits of one of the world’s largest professional service providers, KPMG International Development Advisory Services (IDAS) Africa offers a one‐stop shop for professional advisory services for governments, development partners, private organizations and charities involved in all aspects of regional, national and local development.

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