The United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Feed the Future Nigerian Agribusiness Investment Activity will focus on improving access to loans, credits and investments for women and youths in agriculture.
This was recently disclosed during a webinar themed “Show Me the Money” aimed at unlocking access to credit and investment opportunities for youth and women-led Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria.
Speaking at the event, Director of Agribusiness and Finance, Feed the Future Nigerian Agribusiness Investment Activity, Mr. Jerry Geshop, noted that the program which started in December 2018 was aimed at strengthening the enabling environment for agribusinesses, finance and investment in Nigeria.
Geshop stated that the initiative is focused on linking thousands of MSMEs and producer organisations with high-performing commercial actors in the rice, maize, soya bean, cowpea and aquaculture value chains.
He highlighted other objectives of the project which included broadening access to finance, facilitating investments and enhancing agribusiness MSME performance adding that the program will be implemented in Benue, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Kaduna, Kebbi and Niger states.
On his part, DG, Nigerian Youth Chamber Of Commerce, Kpenkaan Terhemen Johnpaul, noted the lack of business formalisation, financial discipline and strategic business planning as part of the key challenges facing MSMEs.
Terhemen disclosed that his agency in partnership with the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development has mainstreamed fifty thousand youths into the mushroom value chain leveraging the National Youth Investment Fund.
Director, Economic Services, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, Idris Mohammed, stated that his agency is focused on supporting enterprise development through the provision of credit facilities and the promotion of networking among women entrepreneurs.
Explaining the challenges of women entrepreneur funding, Mohammed stated, “the guidelines in accessing most of these funds or loans in financial institutions are not usually women-friendly.”
He, however, noted the importance of financial literacy and education as key in improving the capacitive building of women and youth entrepreneurs adding that beneficiaries should be profiled to know their financial pedigree and be encouraged to register their various businesses.
Representing Rising Tide Africa, Mrs Ashim Egunjobi, noted that globally, only two to three percent of capital/investment goes to women-led start-ups.
“In Africa, the global funding gap for women entrepreneurs stands at 42 billion dollars, the challenge of funding women entrepreneurs is one of urgency,” she stated.
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