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February 15, 2009

World Bank, AGRA join to provide credit to African farming

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is joining forces with the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) to unlock credit and financing for small-scale farmers and agribusinesses across Sub-Saharan Africa.

“AGRA’s partnership with IFC will harness the strengths of both organizations to scale up AGRA’s innovative programs across the agricultural value chain. We will improve the livelihoods of many more small-scale farmers and be able to do it sooner,” said Namanga Ngongi, AGRA’s President. “The growth of the agricultural sector will strengthen the continent’s food security as well as create employment and raise living standards for millions of smallholder African farmers.”

Agricultural lending in Africa is low, which prevents farmers from achieving their full potential production and escaping hunger and poverty.

“The challenges for Africa’s agribusiness are great and so are the opportunities,” said Lars Thunell, IFC Executive Vice President and CEO. “IFC is committed to bringing a wide range of partners together to deliver practical market-based expertise and to help Africa make the most of these opportunities. Our alliance with AGRA is a very important step in this direction.”

The partnership between IFC and AGRA will focus on developing market-based incentives and tools to increase agricultural productivity. For example, the two institutions will work together to scale up AGRA’s partnerships with investors and national commercial banks to make loans available to farmers and agribusinesses like smaller seed companies. IFC and AGRA aim to expand and finance agro-dealer networks to increase availability of farm inputs and expertise in rural areas, and support financing along the fertilizer value chain, including regional procurement of fertilizer.

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, creates opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We foster sustainable economic growth in developing countries by supporting private sector development, mobilizing private capital, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. Our new investments totaled $16.2 billion in fiscal 2008, a 34 percent increase over the previous year.

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