The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) has approved a USD 1.4 million technical assistance grant to Export Trading Group (ETG) for the funding of women-owned businesses in Tanzania, Zambia, and Mozambique.
ETG is one of the largest and fastest-growing integrated agricultural supply chain managers and processors in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The project will enable 600 women-led businesses in Mozambique, Tanzania, and Zambia (200 in each country), to improve their entrepreneurship skills through training under ETG’s Women Entrepreneurship and Employability project.
The project’s main objective is to increase the efficiency of targeted women-owned and led small and medium-sized enterprises employed in ETG’s operations. The project will run until 2025.
Of the financing for the grant, USD 1.4 million will come from AfDB-managed We-Fi grant resources, which will be utilized to undertake a diagnostic study and capacity building of the selected enterprises in the major ETG locations.
Additional co-financing of up to USD 400,000 will come from ETG for the employability aspects of the project. It will also be used to facilitate collaboration with financial institutions and other relevant stakeholders.
“This new technical assistance project complements a USD 150 million trade and agri-finance package approved by the Bank in November 2021 to our strategic partner Export Trading Group (ETG). This is the first project to directly leverage AfDB’s Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa program for private sector agriculture projects, enhancing development impact while supporting women farmers and women-led small and medium enterprises,” noted Atsuko Toda, Director for Agricultural Finance and Rural Infrastructure Development for the AfDB.
The project will be implemented in partnership with ETG’s development arm, the Farmers Foundation, a nonprofit organization established in 2012 in Tanzania to stimulate growth in agriculture and foster the development of rural economies.
The Farmers Foundation has worked with 100,000 (40% female) agribusinesses and created an inclusive sustainable development model in multiple value chains: oil seeds, legumes, pulses, cereals, coffee, and cashew in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique.
The project aligns with We-Fi objectives of providing women-owned enterprises with opportunities to link with domestic and global markets, scaling up access to financial products and services, building capacity, and expanding networks plus mentorship.
“The Bank’s role through the AFAWA program is to support the implementation of the project through provision of gender equitable financial and technical support in agriculture towards increased productivity and food security, access to financial services, information, markets, technology, and productive resources,” said Esther Dassanou, Manager of the Bank’s Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa ( AFAWA) program.
“ETG has shown its commitment to embedding a gender perspective into its business operations with the understanding that this is key to its success and that women are at the center of this development process, and a crucial resource in agriculture and the rural economy,” she added.
The agriculture sector significantly contributes to the growth of the economies of Mozambique, Tanzania, and Zambia. Women constitute up to 60% of the rural labor force and approximately 80% of food producers in these economies.