WEST AFRICA – The Agri-Business Capital Fund (ABC Fund), managed by Bamboo Capital Partners, Injaro and Agriterra, is investing a total of EUR 1.6 million (US$1.85m) in two agro-processing companies in the West Africa region.

The capital injection will be channelled towards two shea butter processors – Mali Shi, based in the surroundings of Bamako, Mali, and Bio Amandes, in the northern region of Côte d’Ivoire.

Mali Shi, deemed to be the first operational industrial shea butter processing plant in Mali, will receive EUR 800,000 (US$927,000) working capital facility to structure a stronger direct supply network and reduce dependency on local traders.

The company procures raw shea nuts from women cooperatives and individual collectors based mainly in Sikasso, Ségou, Kayes and Koulikoro regions.

It processes the nuts into unrefined shea butter, which is used for the food and cosmetics industries.

For the seasons 2021 and 2022, Mali Shi plans to source raw shea nuts from nearly 100,000 collectors, over 95% of whom being women.

To this end, the ABC Fund facility will help secure revenues for the collectors, while also contributing to local employment as the company expects to create 34 additional jobs.

Beyond financing, the ABC Fund will provide technical assistance to support Mali Shi to strengthen their governance and organizational capacity.

This is in addition to the support provided by IFC and UN Women to optimize the supply chain, increase energy efficiency and introduce renewable energy sources.

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Meanwhile, Bio Amandes is the only industrial processor of the shea sector in Côte d’Ivoire, involved in both locally sourcing and producing shea butter.

Through its operations, the company adds value to this sector, employs a local workforce, and sources raw materials directly from 7,300 women.

The company which will also received EUR 800K (US$927,000) from the ABC Fund, will deploy the investment in both working capital and capital expenditure, the latter of which will enable it to acquire new equipment to produce a higher quantity of unrefined shea butter, a laboratory to perform quality checks and a new production line.

The working capital loan will support the purchase of raw shea butter and nuts as well as covering operating expenditures.

This investment will enable an increasing number of women – from 7,300 to 7,500 – to earn incomes for the collection of shea almonds, positively impacting the livelihoods of their families.

It will also support direct job creation, with employment within the company estimated to grow from 35 to 48 in 2021 and to nearly double to 60 by 2025.

Further to that, the ABC Fund will provide technical assistance to Bio Amandes in the fields of resource planning, supply strategy, environmental and social monitoring, and certification compliance.

“The ABC Fund investments will enable both companies to achieve their growth prospects and promote local transformation and economic growth in both Mali and Côte d’Ivoire.

“Currently, most of the exported production is unprocessed and the value chain has significant unexploited potential.

“Financing these companies will generate considerable impact in the wider ecosystem in both countries, which is the strategic focus of the ABC Fund,” Jean-Philippe de Schrevel, Founder and Managing Partner of Bamboo Capital Partners commented.

The investment follows ABC Fund’s recent US$1.8m support to the Union Nationale des Caisses Rurales d’Epargne et de Prêt (‘UNACREP’), a microfinance institution in Benin.

UNACREP provides short- and long-term loans and microcredits to its members, collects deposits and savings from its members and clients and trains and builds capacity of its members.

The credit facility will enable UNACREP to further scale its agriculture portfolio and reach underserved smallholder farmers and cooperatives in the country, a critical segment of the economy, which makes up 70% of employment and contributes nearly 30% of the GDP.

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