The CAP-F and the drive to boost private sector investment in agriculture in Africa

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Between 2016 and 2018, Africa imported around 85% of its food from outside the continent, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTD). The cost of this was enormous; some $35 billion in rare currencies. If you think it was bad, we’ve only just started. This cost is expected to reach $110 billion by 2025.

The continent desperately needs to prioritize investments to improve the productivity of the sector. With the challenges governments across the continent have had with revenue, there needs to be a strategic approach to creating public-private dialogues that align the expectations and interests of the public and private sectors. This will help create the enabling environment that we all want.

There is a model for this that has worked in some African countries called the National Agribusiness Partnership Framework (CAP-F). Designed and implemented by Grow Africa, an initiative of the African Union Development Agency (AUDA) – NEPAD, the CAP-F is a mechanism for establishing effective public-private engagement to create agro-partnerships. -industrialists in a country. The CAP-F facilitates the alignment of private sector investment commitments with public sector policy/infrastructure obligations and provides a mechanism for all parties to hold each other accountable to their obligations. CAP-F’s footprint currently covers 16 African countries.

The narrative around CAP-F is compelling. One of its key success factors is that it is country-owned and anchored on existing agribusiness structures. In Nigeria for example, its implementation is funded by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and implemented by the Nigeria Agribusiness Group (NABG).

CAP-F’s business model is catalytic. It is collaborative, with multi-stakeholder platforms across agricultural value chains in the country its main focus. CAP-F develops business cases to identify investment opportunities in these value chains as well as barriers to these investment opportunities. CAP-F then creates matchmaking opportunities between the different stakeholders, which results in a term sheet that aligns the commitments and expectations of all stakeholders from these investment opportunities. These termsheets are then taken from the commitments on paper to the investments concluded. The final stage of the business model is a Mutual Accountability and Knowledge Sharing activity, where updates on private sector investments are presented to the African Union.

This business model has leveraged $500 million of private sector investment in Africa across 6 countries and 5 value chains. It will certainly be a valuable tool in boosting agricultural investment in Nigeria, a critical success factor for the government’s diversification ambitions. Food security is a national imperative for the country.

It is only recently that a CAP-F National Steering Committee was inaugurated in Abuja. The committee is chaired by the Governor of the Central Bank and hosted by the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC). Other members include; Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI) and NABG. The impact of this very important national mission of the Steering Committee is twofold; this can help Nigeria achieve the food security we desire and take advantage of opportunities in the global food market, which is expected to reach $11 trillion by 2030.

The hopes and aspirations of millions of smallholder farmers rest on initiatives like CAP-F. We look forward to the results of this effort.

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