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Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund

"Business development is essential in the fight against poverty. The Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund will help to deliver this. It encourages innovation in trade and commerce to help those who are most excluded enter the world of business. " – Baroness Amos at the WEF Africa

Private sector is the engine of growth of poverty reduction. The AECF is an Africa-based challenge fund that aims to reduce poverty by supporting private sector businesses that have a positive impact on rural communities in Sub-Saharan Africa. Specifically, the AECF supports businesses in agriculture, agribusiness, rural financial services and communications systems, renewable energy and adaptations to combat climate change.

The AECF provides catalytic funding in the form of repayable and non-repayable grants to businesses that would not otherwise have access to adequate financing.

The AECF is part of the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) family and has been supported by governments (Australia, Canada, Denmark, The Netherlands, Sweden and United Kingdom), and international financial institutions (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor and IFAD).

Strategic Objectives:

  • Scale up innovative and commercially sustainable business ideas that have the potential to positively impact the incomes of rural households.
  • Drive improvements in the way that market systems work, thereby facilitating market entry for rural poor households and businesses.
  • Stimulate the development and use of affordable and accessible technologies for the benefit of the rural poor.
  • Increase the volume of private sector financing by leveraging AECF funds to share risk and catalyse private sector investment

Areas of Investment

The AECF targets investments in the following sectors:

  • Agriculture and agribusiness
  • Renewable energy and adaptations to combat climate change
  • Rural financial services and communications systems that support these two sectors
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