The Mastercard Foundation Fund for Resilience and Prosperity participated in the Africa Agri Investment Indaba which was held on 20 – 22 November in Cape Town, South Africa. The event is known as a global meeting place for agrifood investment in Africa which has brought together a wide range of key stakeholders – from governments, banks, financiers, investors, project owners, project developers, commercial farmers and the agro and food processing industry – to discuss trends that will likely influence food and agribusiness economics over the next decade in Africa. The Agri Indaba delivers a unique mix of decision makers from across the food and agriculture value chain making it the most effective place to conduct business in the sector.
The Fund Program Director, Grace Mberia and Fund Communications and Convening Manager, Nashipae Leteipan, attended and participated in various sessions and had an opportunity to connect and engage with stakeholders with the aim of raising awareness of the Fund interventions and building on the Fund database.
The Fund Communications and Convening Manager, Nashipae Leteipan moderated a Fireside Chat titled ‘Gender Lens Investment in Practice - Innovative Financial Solutions for Women Agripreneurs.’ During this session, she was able to introduce the Fund and delve deeper into the Fund interventions and the ways in which the Fund aims to support women in agribusinesses.
She noted that the Fund has an objective to unlock enterprise growth and catalyze, scale-up and sustain the creation of dignified and fulfilling work opportunities for young women and men. The fireside chat participants also discussed innovative sources of financing and incentives that could be put in place to increase funding for women-led agribusinesses including methods such as blended finance. The participants also discussed the need for women to receive capacity building in various aspects for more growth opportunities within their agribusinesses. The panel was concluded noting that proper financing needs to be channelled to women agriprenuers to enable their growth and development within the sector. The Fund Program Director, Grace Mberia, participated in a panel discussion titled ‘ESG in Agriculture - Constraints or Opportunities?’ She noted that it is important for private sector investors, development finance institutions and programs such as the Fund, to support SMEs in navigating all aspects of ESG as they will in turn create greater impact in the ecosystems they operate in.
She highlighted that through the Fund’s Technical Assistance intervention, the selected SMEs will gain skills that will support them to embed ESG in their operations and in turn benefit the end beneficiaries. She also shared her insights on the opportunities for SMEs adapt climate smart agriculture in their Agri-solutions. The panel also discussed the growing innovations from SMEs in Africa which require significant investment and may be slowed down by lack of funding. Grace Mberia pointed out that investments such as the Program’s Challenge Fund intervention which will offer direct financial support to SMEs, is a good way to bridge this resource flows challenge and support innovative SMEs. The panel was concluded with a consensus that ESG integration for SMEs is now a must have, to ensure success and sustainability of the businesses, especially with the upcoming regulations and disclosure requirements for investors on ESG. Both Fund team representatives were able to attend other sessions covering topics around elevating African agriculture, attracting capital within the sector and bridging investment gaps in agribusiness. They were able to use these opportunities to share insights with the audience on how the Fund for Resilience and Prosperity is providing opportunities through the Fund interventions, to bridge some of these gaps within the sector. Overall, the event gave the Fund team an opportunity to amplify the Fund’s objective to a global audience within the Agribusiness sector and build on a database of prospective participants ahead of the Challenge Fund.