The Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) has launched the fourth round of the Tanzania Agribusiness funding window, competition aimed at encouraging agri-business ideas by funding successful applicants with loans and repayable grants worth between US$100,000 and US$1 million.
According to a statement issued, the competition is under the management of KPMG and funded by UKAid with US$8 million through the Department for International Development (DFID).
It aims at catalyzing private sector investment in agribusiness and rural finance and to bring about change in market systems in Tanzania. It seeks the best business ideas that will lead to growth in the rural economies of Tanzania.
“I look forward to seeing broad participation of the Tanzanian business community in this competition. The private sector needs to rise to the opportunity afforded by the fund and to respond with innovative business ideas that will impact the lives of Tanzanian’s rural population,” the AECF Director, Mr Hugh Scott, said.
The competition, which is open to both local and international companies with the aim of working in Tanzania, aspires to enhance the agricultural sectors in two main areas. First, in agribusiness across the whole agricultural value chain and second, in solutions that increase rural financial and information services in support of agribusiness and related sectors.
In order to qualify, the business ideas must demonstrate a positive impact on the rural poor in Tanzania, deliver increased employment and income, reduce costs and improve productivity. This is the fourth edition of the competition in Tanzania.
The first Tanzania Agribusiness Window was launched in November 2011 where 10 companies were funded; the second round was launched in June 2012 and 10 businesses were awarded funding, while the third round was launched in January 2014 where 17 businesses were approved for funding. AECF is a continental initiative run in various countries across Africa.
Other funders of the AECF across the continent include: Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
Others are the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs (NMFA), the Swedish Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and the government of Canada through their Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Development (DFATD).
The competition is open only to for-profit making companies that includes both African and international companies but the proposed business ideas must take place in Tanzania. The application period for the competition is from November 17 to December 15, this year.
AECF is a US$244 million private sector fund, backed by some of the biggest names in development finance and hosted by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).
The AECF is designed to stimulate investment by the private sector in new and innovative business ideas with potential for wider social benefit. AECF does this by reducing the financial risks related to pursuing those ideas.
The fund manager of the AECF is KPMG International Development Advisory Services Africa (IDAS).
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