British International Investment (BII) has pledged $26.5 million to support Africa’s leading commodities platform, AFEX. This partnership aims to enhance food security and agricultural development in Nigeria, Kenya, and Uganda. The funding will be directed towards the construction of modern warehouses, expanding AFEX’s operations, and providing market access and financing for small-scale farmers.
The partnership agreement, recently signed in Lagos, was attended by key figures including Jonny Baxter, British deputy high commissioner; Nick O’Donohoe, BII CEO; and Ayodeji Balogun, CEO of AFEX Group.
The funding will facilitate the building of 20 modern warehouses strategically located across the three countries. These warehouses will feature advanced inventory and price tracking software, revolutionizing storage and transportation for agricultural products.
The increased storage capacity is poised to be a game-changer for regional farmers. With access to cost-effective storage, farmers can wait for optimal prices before selling their crops, potentially increasing their incomes by up to 200%. This injection of income is a significant boost for smallholder farmers who often face financial challenges.
Additionally, BII’s investment will support the establishment of a soybean processing plant in Ibadan, Nigeria, and a drying facility in Uganda. These projects are expected to generate over 700 temporary jobs and more than 80 permanent positions, providing substantial economic benefits to local communities.
Agriculture plays a crucial role in the economies of Nigeria, Kenya, and Uganda, accounting for a quarter of GDP and employing 70% of the population. However, smallholder and subsistence farmers encounter obstacles like market access limitations and unpredictable crop sales.
Nick O’Donohoe, BII’s CEO, emphasized the importance of backing technology-driven companies like AFEX in reducing Africa’s food import costs and boosting local food production.
AFEX Group CEO, Ayodeji Balogun, hailed the investment as a milestone in their mission to revolutionize agriculture and enhance food security across Africa.
British Deputy High Commissioner in Lagos, Jonny Baxter, expressed pride in BII’s support for agricultural productivity and food security in Nigeria. He acknowledged the vital role of the agricultural sector in Nigeria’s economy and anticipated the continued growth of AFEX.
This investment aligns with several UN Sustainable Development Goals, including Zero Hunger (SDG2), Decent Work and Economic Growth (SDG8), and Responsible Consumption and Production (SDG12), marking a significant step towards addressing food insecurity and promoting sustainable agriculture in Africa.