In a significant move to address food security in Nigeria, Kenya, and Uganda, British International Investment (BII), the UK’s development finance institution (DFI) and impact investor, has announced a substantial commitment of $26.5 million to AFEX Commodities Exchange.
Touchaheart Nigeria reports that this investment is set to bring about structural improvements in Africa’s agricultural industry, particularly benefiting smallholder farmers and contributing to improvements in food security.
BII’s Investment Blueprint
The core of BII’s investment strategy involves the construction of 20 modern warehouses in strategic locations across Nigeria, Kenya, and Uganda.
These state-of-the-art storage facilities will not only enhance the storage capacity by 230,000 metric tonnes but also grant low-cost storage access to up to 200,000 more farmers.
The result could be an astounding increase of over 200% in farmer incomes following improved sales from crop harvests.
Moreover, BII’s financial backing will foster the development of a soybean processing plant in Ibadan, Nigeria, the third-largest city by population in the country.
Additionally, a drying facility in Uganda is in the pipeline.
The construction of these facilities is expected to generate more than 700 temporary jobs and create over 80 permanent roles, thereby contributing to employment opportunities in the region.
A Boon for Food Security
BII’s investment in AFEX comes at a critical time. According to Nick O’Donohoe, BII’s Chief Executive Officer, “The World Bank estimates that Africa’s food import bill has reached c.US$30 billion in recent decades.
This is why we need to back technology-driven companies like AFEX because they help reduce that import cost by supporting smallholder farmers to increase local food production, while also boosting their incomes.”
By supporting AFEX, BII is aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), aiming to enable Africa to feed itself efficiently and sustainably.
As AFEX Group CEO, Ayodeji Balogun, points out, “This investment from British International Investment is a landmark moment in our mission to revolutionize agriculture and elevate food security across Africa.
By directing fresh capital towards the development of technologically advanced warehouses and critical facilities, we are significantly enhancing market access and income potential for smallholder farmers.”
A Testimony to Success
The British Deputy High Commissioner in Lagos, Jonny Baxter, acknowledges the vital role the agricultural sector plays in Nigeria’s economy.
He noted that the UK provided early-stage funding to AFEX, and it’s heartening to witness the company’s growth and success.
This new investment not only propels AFEX’s growth but also forges a more secure and prosperous future for an entire continent.
What You Should Know
British International Investment’s $26.5 million commitment to AFEX Commodities Exchange is poised to have a profound impact on food security and smallholder farmers in Nigeria, Kenya, and Uganda.
With the development of modern warehouses, soybean processing facilities, and drying plants, this investment signifies a significant step towards enhancing market access and income potential for those who need it most.
It is a testament to the power of strategic investment in technology-driven agricultural ventures to help Africa feed itself efficiently and sustainably.