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Agricultural finance fund closes at $65.9m, says FG

The Federal Government on Wednesday in Abuja announced that the Fund for Agricultural Finance in Nigeria , which was initiated by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, was successfully closed at $ 65 . 9 m .

It said the fund would provide financial , capacity building and technical assistance to selected Small and Medium Enterprises in the agribusiness sector , adding that it was managed by Sahel Capital , a private equity firm.

In a statement issued by the Special Assistant on Media and Communications to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr . Olukayode Oyeleye, the government noted that a total of $ 31 m was jointly committed to the FAFIN by the African Development Bank , the CDC Group and the Dutch Good Growth Fund .

It added that as part of the round , the German Development Bank also offered to increase its commitments to FAFIN by an additional $ 10 m , subject to final approvals , which would increase the fund size to $ 76 m by December 2017 .

FAFIN , co – sponsored by Nigeria ’ s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ministry of Finance , German Development Bank and the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority , was inaugurated in 2014 with $ 32 . 8 m in commitments .

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh , expressed the full commitment of his ministry to the development of the agricultural sector .

Ogbeh was quoted as saying , “ Although key developments in the sector will continually be private sector driven , the Federal Government will provide the necessary incentives to grow the sector by facilitating financing and support for SMEs through investment vehicles such as FAFIN .”

The statement noted that Sahel Capital planned to invest the funds over the next two years , backing sustainable agribusinesses that would create jobs , improve productivity and strengthen priority value chains.

The Minister of Finance , Mrs . Kemi Adeosun , was quoted as saying , “ The Federal Government is acting as a catalyst for private sector capital to drive growth in the agribusiness sector . With this close, we would have succeeded in partnering the various investors to secure $ 76 m for agribusinesses in Nigeria . ”

The Managing Partner, Sahel Capital , Mr. Mezuo Nwuneli , was also quoted as saying , “The successful final close of FAFIN is a testament to the confidence our investors have in the scaling up and sustainability of the fund that was conceived in 2013 by the former Minister of Agriculture , Dr . Akinwunmi Adesina, and the German Development Bank .

“ We also look forward to partnering with our incoming investors to drive catalytic growth in the sector through our partnerships with strong agribusinesses .”

The statement noted that Sahel Capital had assessed over 100 companies since FAFIN ’ s launch in 2014 , out of which it had elected to invest in four high growth firms in the dairy , edible oils, poultry and cassava value chains in Nigeria .

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