The European Union (EU) continued to extend its aid towards Africa by providing $50 million in its effort to support smallholder agri-businesses in the rural area in Nigeria and other African countries.
The EU is shoring up its commercial position in Africa by increasing its investment in the continent to match up the competition with China and the U.S, the two superpower foreign investors.
EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica announced the financial support during the inauguration of the support fund in Rome.
The support known as the new Agri-Business Capital (ABC) Fund, would help deliver on the Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investments and Jobs.
Addressing the conference organised by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the commissioner said, “The Luxembourg Government and the Africa Green Revolution Alliance, an international NGO, are contributing five million euros and five million dollars respectively.
“The new ABC Fund, established by IFAD, is primarily geared towards individual smallholders and farmers’ organisations, with loan sizes from 25,000 dollars to one million dollars (about €22,000 – €885,000), thus improving their access to finance.”
Close to 700,000 small-scale growers will benefit from the support fund to better their livelihood.
Earlier this year, the EU allocated over $255 million to strengthen job creation and economic integration in 25 countries in Africa.
They include Rwanda, Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
The EU also recently provided $56 million to support the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), one of the main priorities of Africa’s Agenda 2063, for the period 2018-2020.
The EU, Africa’s biggest trading partner, accounted for 36 per cent of Africa’s trade in goods, worth $276 billion in 2017. It seeks to intensify trade relations with Africa for growth and development.
The agriculture sector is pivotal in African economies accounting for most of their GDP. According to Foresight Africa 2016, farming ranks as the primary source of food and income for Africans and provides up to 60 per cent of all jobs on the continent.