Michael Olugbode in Abuja
Over the past five years, USAID has promoted private sector-led economic growth in Nigeria by facilitating $205 million in debt and equity investments for Nigerian agribusinesses.
This was revealed on Wednesday when the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded West Africa Trade & Investment Hub (Trade Hub) hosted a workshop on, “Leveraging Private Sector Engagement to Promote Sustainable Impact.”
The two-day event highlighted the Trade Hub’s efforts to expand trade and investment opportunities and improve livelihoods and communities in West Africa.
A statement from USAID, noted that Nigeria was the largest economy and market in Africa and has a vast untapped pool of labour, creating great potential for economic growth.
It added that the country has an opportunity to become a leading exporter and hub for the West Africa region and the broader continent.
It stressed that, the Trade Hub improves private sector competitiveness with a focus on increasing the agricultural productivity and profitability of smallholder farmers.
The programme has promoted Nigeria and West Africa’s regional and international trade. Using a market-based approach. The project also increases partnerships with firms in various sectors through a co-investment grant facility to improve private sector productivity, profitability, and competitiveness.
Since the Trade Hub was launched in 2019, the project has catalysed 93 private- sector investments across 16 West African countries.
In Nigeria, partners include fruit and cereal processing companies, agricultural input companies, financial advisers, investment firms, and anchor farms. The Trade Hub has awarded $82.6 million in co-investment grants to these companies, generating over $463 million in sales, and creating over 60,000 jobs.
Speaking at the event, USAID’s Acting Mission Director Sara Werth, said: “Together, with our private sector partners and local and national governments throughout the region, we are so proud of the results we have achieved to date.
“As we continue to partner in the work necessary for sustainable economic growth, financial inclusion, and climate resilience, today’s learning event provides the environment to fuel continued collaboration and build new connections.”
During the event, private sector partners shared their successes in leveraging Trade Hub funds and direct partnerships with investment firms and other businesses to unlock new private investment.
They also discussed the strategies implemented to grow their businesses while navigating challenges and crises such as COVID-19, insecurity, and inflation.