Rural African businesses to benefit from new UN fund

13 June 2007

The United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) today announced the launch of a new fund that is designed to help Africa’s rural poor by providing grants to innovative new businesses.

The United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) today announced the launch of a new fund that is designed to help Africa’s rural poor by providing grants to innovative new businesses.

The African Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) will offer matching grants of up to $1.5 million each to projects which meet its development goals, according to a statement released by IFAD during the World Economic Forum on Africa, held in Cape Town.

The AECF, which will run for seven years starting in 2008, already has most of the money it needs to start operations. Donors include IFAD, the African Development Bank, the Consultative Group for Assist the Poor, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.

IFAD President Lennart Båge said the challenge fund “will make a tangible and sustainable differences to the lives and livelihoods of poor rural people in Africa,” where more than seven of every 10 poor people are living outside urban areas.

“The importance of fostering entrepreneurship and business development in rural Africa cannot be overstated,” Mr. Båge said.

 

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