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The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) approved on 16 May in Tunis, an equity investment of USD 100 million to Agvance Africa, the first agribusiness-focused Fund of Funds on the African continent. The strategic objective of Agvance Africa is to increase private investment flows into the agribusiness sector on the continent to address growing food security concerns and unleash the largely unexploited potential of African agriculture and agribusiness sectors.
The approval of Agvance Africa comes as African agriculture and food security gain increasing prominence on the global agenda, with the recent G8 Summit in Camp David pledging to promote investments in sustainable agriculture on the continent. Speaking from Camp David, AfDB President Donald Kaberuka stated: “There was broad consensus that it is the right thing to do, it is doable and it’s good for the world. The Summit was about growth, and growth in Africa begins with agriculture”.
Agvance will be managed by Credit Suisse Customized Fund Investment Group (CFIG) and will target total capital commitments of USD 500 million. It is anticipated to invest in 12 to 15 best-in-class private equity funds targeting portfolio companies along the agribusiness value chain and across the continent.
In addition to being Agvance’s anchor investor, AfDB has played a key role in developing the Agvance concept, with support from the Fund for Private Sector Assistance (FAPA), and will work closely with the CFIG to design a state-of-the-art environmental and social management system in cooperation with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
Founded in 1999, CFIG currently has one of the largest dedicated alternative investment teams in the world and is uniquely qualified to manage Agvance Africa given its substantial assets under management, dedicated team and demonstrated private equity investment expertise.
Agvance Africa is in line with AfDB strategy to support private sector development on the continent.
Fundraising efforts will be conducted in close cooperation with partner DFIs, generating a multiplier effect on resources available for the development of the agriculture and agribusiness sectors. The initiative is also complementary to current efforts undertaken by the AfDB’s public sector window in cooperation with FAO and UNIDO in the context of African Agribusiness and Agro-industries Development Initiative (3ADI).
As the first initiative of this nature on the continent, Agvance Africa, will catalyze investment into the agribusiness sector, channeling capital to labour-intensive activities, leading to inclusive job creation and promoting innovative, environmentally sustainable approaches to agribusiness.