AFRICA – AGRA, an alliance led by Africans with roots in farming communities across the continent has launched an online SME Resource Bank, a platform where the African agribusiness Small and Medium Enterprises can find articulated requirements to make the investment ready.
The SME Resource Bank, according to AGRA is now a component of the AgriBusiness Deal Room, a matchmaking online platform convening close to 4,000 stakeholders from the entire eco-system to facilitate partnerships and investments in African agriculture.
The Agribusiness Deal Room is delivered by a consortium of partners namely: AECF, AfDB, AGRA, Bonrezo, CASA, CrossBoundary Group, GAIN, Grow Africa, Generation Africa, IDH, IFC, IFAD, KPMG, Rockefeller Foundation, SAFIN, Tanager, Blair Institute for global change, USAID and the World Economic Forum.
The newly launched resource is a virtual repository of guiding materials that will help entrepreneurs to better prepare for and optimize their engagements with investors.
“We usually come across entrepreneurs with great ideas, but they are not investor ready,” said Elizabeth Wamai, an Investment Analyst from Exeo Capital – an international investment company in the Sub-Saharan Africa region that regularly engages in the Deal Room.
“It is really frustrating to see great potential opportunities fall through the cracks during the screening process because the entrepreneur did not have critical financial information such as audited accounts, business plan, and financial projections among others required to assess the credibility of the business and maybe its growth potential,” she added.
According to Dr Debisi Araba, the Managing Director for the AGRF, Africa has the potential to transform its agriculture sector to contribute a healthy percentage of economic growth on the continent.
“However, there is a financial deficit in ushering in this reality. We have a deficit of over 100 billion dollars to ensure the flow of capital in the agricultural sector across the continent, and that is what we are trying to mobilise through the SME Resource Bank,” he said.
“Also, what we are trying to do is not just to increase the flow of capital but also improving the investment readiness to enhance agriculture finance,” Dr Debisi elaborated.
The SME Resource Bank will contain fundraising materials such as comprehensive investment memos, robust financial models and market analysis information that will inform SMEs about the investment process and requirements and how to prepare for participation in the Agribusiness Deal Room.
The resource bank will be intensely used in the capacity building and Deal Room preparation of hundreds of SMEs and Business Development providers.
It will be an evolving open-source depository that will be open to other contributors for its expansion.
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