On Wednesday 12 July 2017 the APPG hosting the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund for a briefing and discussion.
Daniel Ohonde (COO) and Paul Greener (CEO) spoke to assembled Parliamentarians on the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund as a development tool, its impact to date on rural poverty, and its future direction having recently been launched as a standalone entity after a decade of incubation within AGRA.
The meeting covered the nature and impact of challenge funds in general, and AECF in particular. If agriculture is Africa's most promising route to prosperity, to what extent are challenge funds the way to get there? How do we assess their impact? How successful is the model in unlocking the potential of women farmers and young people?
"Agriculture is critical and needs to be sustainable, creating income for more than one season," said Ohonde. "For example, we've supported 11 seed companies and made a difference to 600,000 farmers. The idea of focusing on the private sector is to ensure sustainability. The enterprises we support, in turn support an entire economic ecosystem."
The Africa-based AECF was launched at the World Economic Forum in 2007 and began operations in 2008, when it launched its first competition. Since then, it has grown from a US$34 million fund to the current US$256 million Enterprise Challenge Fund that has supported 257 businesses in 23 countries and has reached over 10 million people across the continent. It funds businesses in a number of sectors, namely, agribusiness, rural financial services, communications systems, renewable energy and adaptation of innovative technologies to combat climate change.