AFRICA – The International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Moroccan fertilizer giant, OCP Group, have unveiled an ambitious agri-finance platform to mobilize a substantial US$800 million to bolster agricultural growth and enhance food security in Africa.

The platform aims to build and support sustainable food production and distribution systems across the African continent, said OCP in a press release.

Mostafa Terrab, Chairman and CEO of OCP Group said that the partnership with IFC will help “unlock the full potential of Africa to feed not only itself but the world.”

“Today we take a major step towards a just African agricultural transformation by mobilizing substantial new financing for African farmers and for the value chains that support them,” Terrab added.

By providing access to finance and comprehensive skills training, the initiative plans to strengthen 30 agricultural value chains, via 60 agri-finance operations the finances in blended capital by 2030.

These operations will encompass various crop types and address prevalent challenges hindering the sector’s growth and resilience.

Makhtar Diop, the Managing Director of IFC emphasized the critical role of agriculture in Africa and expressed enthusiasm about scaling up the partnership with OCP to attract investment and improve food production on the continent.

Diop pledged that “both IFC and OCP Group will commit resources to grow the platform and we are keen to attract like-minded partners and potential investors to join us in this important and timely project.”

The statement underlined that agriculture holds immense economic significance for Africa, contributing approximately 20% to the continent’s GDP and employing over 60% of its population. 

Despite the continent’s agricultural potential, Africa currently relies heavily on food imports. This leaves the continent vulnerable to external disruptions, such as those posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

The targeted investment strategy of the platform aims to address these challenges, and foster sustainable growth within the sector, ultimately enhancing food security across Africa.

Additionally, the platform intends to attract new investors and foster a “pipeline of interventions,” each meticulously monitored for its impact on social, economic, and environmental measures.

Already in motion, the platform has partnered with the Bank of Africa to enhance access to fertilizers and other inputs for African farmers and agri-processors such as cashew and rice value chains in Côte d’Ivoire, and similar ventures are in the pipeline for Cameroon, Gabon, and other African nations.