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AfDB Provides Funds to Boost Agriculture

by Grace Kisembo

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved an equity investment of €18 million in the Africa Guarantee Fund (AGF) and another €1.2 million to support youths and women entrepreneurs engaged in agricultural value chains in Kenya. Development Diaries reports that the funds, according to the bank, will be provided by the European Union (EU). Kenya’s agriculture sector employs the largest share of the country’s population, especially in rural areas, and accounts for 60 percent of Kenya’s export. According to data by the Kenya Youth Agribusiness Strategy 2017–2022, 64 percent of the unemployed Kenyans are youths between the ages of 18 and 35, with the majority moving away from agriculture to fast-growing non-agricultural sectors in urban areas. Also, the demand for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSME) financing remains unmet in Kenya and has been aggravated by the disruptions of the Covid-19 pandemic. The International Finance Corporation (IFC) estimates an SME finance gap of U.S.$19.38 billion, representing 30 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Women face many constraints hampering their access to finance and the growth of their businesses. These include a lack of business management skills, legal, social, and policy barriers, poor access to networks and information, and inadequate financing options catering to their specific needs. In a statement by AfDB’s Director General for East Africa, Nnenna Nwabufo, she said that the approval is ‘another milestone in the implementation of the partnership with the EU, which also signals the importance given to the role of women and youth in the agricultural sector in Kenya’. Support for women entrepreneurs and private investment in Kenya’s agricultural sector are crucial measures to foster inclusive economic growth in the country.

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