WEST AND CENTRAL AFRICA – Agro Companies International SA, a family-owned group focused on trading wheat and animal feed products in West and Central Africa has received US$20 million from IFC, to be channeled towards the US$60 million trade finance facility arranged by commodity trade finance bank BIC-BRED (Suisse) SA for Agro Companies.

The financing is aimed to support the importation of wheat, corn, and animal feed into Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Ghana, and other African countries, from international suppliers and distribute these products to mainly local milling companies.

Africa is highly dependent on imported wheat and other grains, with 44 percent of the continent’s wheat coming from Russia and Ukraine in 2020.

The fallout from the war in Ukraine and associated wheat supply chain disruptions have highlighted the urgent need for grain trade financing to ensure food security in Africa.

“In the current context of rising inflation, this financing support from IFC is instrumental in sustaining the milling wheat and animal feed supply chains of our clients in West and Central Africa,” said Erwan Boubet, CEO of Agro Companies International SA.

In the past two years, IFC has grown the size of its short-term trade facilities to the commodities sector in emerging markets by 50 percent thanks to mobilization and partnerships with commercial banks.

“Strengthening food security in Africa is urgent at this critical time when inflation and market turbulence hamper trade and imports.

“Supporting firms like Agro Companies International SA is part of IFC’s strategy to fill the trade finance gap and help limit disruptions in the food commodity supply chain,” said Aliou Maiga, IFC’s Regional Industry Director for the Financial Institutions Group in Africa.

Responding to surging levels of food insecurity, IFC has launched a new US$6 billion global food security platform to strengthen the private sector’s ability to respond to the crisis and help support food production.

A core part of the financing, which will be provided through the new Global Food Security Platform (the Platform), will support sustainable production and delivery of food stocks to countries affected by food instability. 

Support will be aimed at facilitating trade of food commodities, delivery of inputs to farmers, supporting efficient production in major origins, including Ukraine, and effective distribution of food products in destination countries.

Financing will also focus on long-term actions to improve the resilience of the global food system and lessen its climate and ecological footprint.

This includes investing in efficient crop production, improving access to fertilizers, greening fertilizer production and use, reducing crop loss and food waste, improving supply chain efficiency, and mitigating infrastructure bottlenecks.

The US$6 billion will be used to support private sector companies along the food value chain by leveraging IFC’s sectoral expertise in agribusiness, manufacturing, infrastructure, and technology, as well as the financial sector and trade finance.

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