Agribusiness Funds-Tanzania - Local business community have been urged to apply for the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund's (AECF) third round of the agribusiness and rural financing funding window. The AECF third round agribusiness and rural financing funding window for Tanzania aims at encouraging business ideas in agribusiness across the whole agricultural value chain and in solutions that increase rural financial services in support of agribusiness and related sectors was launched last week.
Talking to journalists in Dar es Salaam yesterday, the AECF Director, Mr Hugh Scott, challenged the private sector to rise to the opportunity afforded by the AECF's third round funding and respond with innovative business ideas that will impact on the lives of Tanzania's rural people.
"I look forward to seeing broad participation of the Tanzanian business community in this competition," said Mr Scott.
According to the Director, the third round will co-fund successful applicants via a combination of grants and repayable grants of between USD 100,000 and USD 1 million.
"In order to qualify the business ideas must demonstrate a positive impact on the rural poor in Tanzania, deliver increased employment and income, reduce costs and improve productivity," he explained.
Mr Scott said through the third round competition, as with the previous rounds, the AECF aims to catalyse private sector investment in agribusiness and rural finance and to cause a change in market systems in Tanzania and East Africa at large.
"It seeks the best business ideas that will lead to growth in the rural economies of Tanzania," he said.
Under the programme, the widest possible range of agribusinesses are eligible for support, including companies engaged in farming or processing, those setting up outgrower schemes, manufacturers and distributors of agricultural inputs, traders and merchants and other private sector service providers including market information services.
The first round of the funding competition was launched on 1st November 2011 and 10 companies were awarded funding while round two launched on 5th June 2012 funded 12 businesses.
"I am very pleased with the opportunity that this third round in Tanzania offers for additional private sector and enterprise development across Tanzania," said KPMG International Development Assistance Services (IDAS) Director, Dr Alexandra Mandelbaum, who also doubles as the AECF Director in Tanzania.
KPMG IDAS is the fund manager of the AECF. The competition is open only to for-profit making companies that include both African and International companies but their proposed business ideas must take place in Tanzania.
Interested applicants must apply online through the website at http://aecfafrica.org/windows/tanzania-window by 31 March 2014. "Applications will be judged in terms of both commercial viability and the potential for rural development impact," Dr Mandelbaum noted.
The AECF is a USD 217 million private sector fund, backed by some of the biggest names in development finance and hosted by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).
Tanzania Daily News/29/01/2014