The United States Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development-funded West Africa Trade and Investment Hub (Trade Hub) has emphasised the need for ensuring growth through investment in the private sector.
This emphasis was laid during a recent, two-day, workshop focused on “Harnessing Private Sector Engagement for Sustainable Impact”, to showcase the Trade Hub’s endeavours in expanding trade and investment prospects, while also striving to enhance livelihoods and communities across West Africa.
Nigeria, being home to a vast, untapped labour force in the largest African economy and market, presents an enormous potential for economic growth. It offers a unique opportunity to become a dominant exporter and regional hub for West Africa and the broader continent.
Over the past five years, USAID has actively promoted private sector-driven economic growth in Nigeria by facilitating $205 million in debt and equity investments for Nigerian agribusinesses. USAID has also extended partial risk guarantees to support up to $120 million in loans for businesses in the agricultural, health and renewable energy sectors.
The Trade Hub contributes to enhancing private sector competitiveness, with a particular focus on increasing agricultural productivity and profitability for smallholder farmers in Nigeria. Additionally, the project promotes regional and international trade in West Africa. Utilising a market-driven approach, the Trade Hub fosters partnerships with firms across various sectors through a co-investment grant program. This initiative aims to enhance private sector productivity, profitability and overall competitiveness.
Since its inception in 2019, the Trade Hub has played a pivotal role in catalyzing 93 private-sector investments spanning 16 West African countries. In Nigeria, the initiative collaborates with fruit and cereal processing companies, agricultural input firms, financial advisors, investment entities and anchor farms. The Trade Hub has disbursed $82.6 million in co-investment grants to these enterprises, leading to over $463 million in sales and the creation of more than 60,000 jobs.
Acting mission director at USAID, Sara Werth expressed her satisfaction with the achievements to date during the event. She stated, “Working in tandem with our private sector partners and collaborating with local and national governments across the region, we take pride in the accomplishments we have attained so far. As we persist in our collaborative efforts towards sustainable economic growth, financial inclusion, and climate resilience, this learning event provides an ideal platform to foster ongoing partnerships and cultivate new connections”.
The event serves as a forum for private sector partners to highlight their achievements in harnessing Trade Hub funds and establishing direct collaborations with investment firms and businesses to attract new private investments. Participants are also engaging in discussions about the strategies they have employed to expand their businesses while navigating challenges and crises, including those posed by COVID-19, insecurity and inflation.