SENEGAL – The USAID-funded West Africa Trade & Investment Hub (Trade Hub) has entered into a US$9.9 million co-investment partnership with a trio of Senegalese businesses to create jobs and build new markets to recover from COVID-19 restrictions.
The West Africa Trade & Investment Hub awarded co-investment grants totalling US$1.43 million (780 million in francs CFA) across the three promising Senegalese companies i.e., online fresh-grocery delivery company Club Tiossane and two women-led food companies, Biosene and Enterprise Aissatou Gaye (EAG).
Biosene, with a total combined investment of US$2.18 million will use the funds to strengthen its supply chains in Senegal and the West Africa region that were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The company which uses locally sourced raw materials to produces food products, intends to buy 340 metric tonnes of semi-finished products and raw materials composed of millet, fonio, baobab fruits and powder, hibiscus, moringa, and white beans from 6,600 farmers and processors.
Further to that, it will use the investment to launch an e-commerce platform to help it better market its products, add 39 new staff positions (22 of which will be held by women), train all 96 employees to increase performance, and update all Biosene business processes and procedure manuals.
Under the initiative, Biosene resources will be used to design and construct a processing and storage facility.
“As USAID celebrates its 60th anniversary and six decades of partnering with Senegal, investments like these highlights how USAID is partnering with organizations and companies to develop the country’s private sector and support entrepreneurship, particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises.”USAID-funded West Africa Trade & Investment Hub
The other woman-owned company, Enterprise Aïssatou Gaye (EAG) with a combined investment of US$5.8 million, will use the new funds to help overcome challenges in working capital, farm advisory services, and processing capacity.
Through this it expects to double its processing capacity and respond to heightened demand for rice due to COVID-19 transport restrictions that greatly reduced Senegal’s access to imported rice.
At the same time, investments in EAG will enable increased rice production, contributing to food security in the Ross-Béthio area while serving as a model of female entrepreneurship in a sector traditionally dominated by men.
Meanwhile, Club Tiossane will leverage the USAID co-investment and its own resources to scale up its operations, building a cold storage and packing facility to increase its food storage capacity.
The company will also purchase 14 delivery trucks to increase the number of its home deliveries from 1,200 to 4,000 deliveries per week.
To meet market needs, Club Tiossane will build supply-chain partnerships with 400 additional small-scale producers in Senegal, expanding its pool of producers to 500.
The company will also help these producers improve the quality and increase the quantity of their production, identify market opportunities, diversify their product range, and access new markets.
The combined investment from the grocery delivery entity and USAID is approximately US$2 million.
“These three co-investments from USAID through the West Africa Trade & Investment Hub are examples of how the U.S. Government supports entrepreneurship across the region.
“As USAID celebrates its 60th anniversary and six decades of partnering with Senegal, investments like these highlights how USAID is partnering with organizations and companies to develop the country’s private sector and support entrepreneurship, particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises,” noted USAID-funded West Africa Trade & Investment Hub.
The trade hub has been supporting businesses in West Africa to scale up, mitigate the effects of COVID-19 pandemic and have positive impact on the different economies.
Recently, the organization entered into a US$3 million agreement with Red River Foods (RRF), a leading global supplier of nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and specialty snacks, to build a sustainable root to market channel for West Africa’s cashew nut produce into the U.S. market.
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