COLEACP signs MoU with ABC (Agri-Business Capital) Fund
COLEACP, in the framework of its Fit For Market programme, has formalised a partnership agreement with the ABC (Agri-Business Capital) Fund. An independent private investment fund, ABC Fund is managed by Bamboo Capital Fund, with Injaro Investments Ltd as investment advisor. It has received contributions from the European Commission, the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Luxembourg, and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). The ABC Fund provides loans and equity investments adapted to the needs of rural SMEs, farmers’ organisations, agripreneurs and rural financial institutions. It particularly targets commercially viable ventures that can help create employment, in particular for youth and women, and improve rural livelihoods. The fund also prioritises climate-smart projects that promote sustainable production.
At the end of June 2020, COLEACP had reviewed 27 business plans, 14 of which have been shared with investors including ABC Fund, MCE, CORDAID and SIDI. One company supported by the Fit For Market programme has already benefited from a loan, with several others currently in the pipeline.
Covid-19: e-coaching for MSMEs
COLEACP direct support provided to companies and experts as a response to Covid-19 will continue during Year 5 of the Fit For Market programme. Horticultural companies receive e-coaching sessions to learn how, as far as is practical, they can protect their employees and businesses from the disruptions caused by Covid-19. The programme is demand-driven – on request from SMEs, COLEACP facilitates individual coaching sessions on business themes including such as cashflow management, cost management and human resources management. 30 e-coaching requests have been received, and coaching sessions have taken place since June in countries including Kenya, Côte d’Ivoire and Zimbabwe. The coaching paves the way to rebuilding resilience in preparation for the recovery phase by providing MSMEs and producer groups with decision-making support and guidance, so that they have the necessary knowledge and information to take informed-choices in light of the challenges and issues they are currently facing.
In August, three e-coaching sessions were launched in Senegal as a follow-up to COLEACP’s Business Survival Bootcamps. Feedback from Mr Kamara, director of KIMEX, a company specialising in mango and shea processing, was very positive – Mr Kamara already had extensive knowledge in management, but this coaching has really helped him to move from theory to practice. The support is provided within the framework of the Fit For Market programme.
Training is also under way to strengthen the capacity of managers and business leaders in their understanding of the fundamental principles and the implementation of an ethical approach in business.