International Conference on Business Models in Agriculture

Theme: Reshaping Agribusiness Models for Building Prosperous Rural Communities

The Mastercard Foundation Fund for Resilience and Prosperity participated at the International Conference on Business Models (IBMA) in Kigali, Rwanda on March 25-28, 2024. The conference aimed to foster open dialogue and exchange groundbreaking ideas to catalyse rapid and meaningful change in African economies' agriculture sectors. IBMA 2024 brought together various stakeholders, including SMEs, investors, policymakers, high-ranking government officials, ambassadors, and ecosystem builders such as agricultural institutions and young entrepreneurs, to explore sustainable and impactful business models that can shape the future of agriculture in the African continent by unlocking the potential of agro-technologies, funds, and resources for the agriculture industry. The three day event revolved around discussions on the importance of effective working models that drive prosperity, addressing pressing issues like investment, agro-industrialization, regenerative agriculture, and women and youth empowerment.

The Fund Grants Lead, Wilson Irungu, Communications and Convening Associate, Bella Kimutai, and Administration Assistant Manager, Sarah Musembi, attended the event in Kigali. Wilson Irungu represented the Fund in a panel discussion on “Transforming Agricultural Business to Foster Prosperity in Rural Communities Through Partnering for Achieving Sustainable Agribusiness and Rural Development” where he highlighted the major role that grant funding has played in empowering SMEs in Africa to grow and scale in the agriculture industry. Wilson informed the participants of the conference about the recently launched Agribusiness Challenge Fund and encouraged the SMEs to be innovative, selfless and submit ideas that would have a positive effect on the employment situation in Rwanda and the other 19 focus countries. The Mastercard Foundation Fund for Resilience and Prosperity Agribusiness Challenge fund opened on 18 March 2024 and will run until 22 November 2024, with three harvests on 7 June, 30 August and 22 November 2024 (See further details here He also highlighted the Fund for Resilience and Prosperity’s Technical Assistance intervention where the SME’s that will be funded in the Agribusiness Challenge Fund will be supported in adding value beyond the financial aspect through capacity building to address the barriers concerning human capital and access to markets.

The Fund team also exhibited at the conference where they got to interact one-on-one with SMEs in the agriculture sector and inform them of the Agribusiness Challenge Fund giving directions on how to apply to the Fund, industry leaders, young entrepreneurs who were showcasing their agricultural products at the event, and investors. The team spoke on the main objectives of the Fund, creating sustainable jobs for young women and men, refugee youth and youth with disabilities in sub-Saharan Africa. All Fund representatives attended various sessions of the conference where discussions on policy landscape, changing mindsets, and the crucial role of governments were had. Overall, the conference provided ample networking opportunities for the Fund team to share insights, build on its database and interact with relevant target audiences.