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Lending scheme to stimulate African agribusiness

A US$50mn lending scheme has been launched by Nedbank to stimulate agribusiness in sub-Saharan Africa

The initiative will be supported by World Bank member, IFC, and the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), both providing risk mitigation.

The facility aims to stimulate international trade in cash crops and agricultural commodities by lending to traders against warehoused commodities.

“Working with IFC, we intend to use our expertise in commodity finance to keep trade active in those countries in sub-Saharan Africa,” said Nedbank’s head of global commodity finance, Sekete Mokgehle. “Nedbank is willing to expand its operational reach to commodity traders in this region and is grateful to launch the new collaboration with IFC today.”

The project’s first target will be the flagging rice trade in Ebola-hit Liberia, where the local economy has suffered from the effects of border closures and other travel restrictions.

“The private sector has a crucial role to play in containing the economic effects of Ebola,” said German Vegarra, IFC's regional head of manufacturing, agribusiness and services for sub-Saharan Africa. “By partnering with Nedbank, IFC and GAFSP will support commodity trade in Liberia, to maintain economic activity and ensure food security in the country.”

The scheme is also supported by the governments of Japan, Canada, the Netherlands, the UK and the US, allowing the partnership to invest in potentially riskier projects.