Nigeria Secures World Bank Extension to Bolster MSMEs and Food Security Post-COVID
In a significant development aimed at fortifying Micro and Small Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and ensuring food security in Nigeria, the World Bank has granted a crucial extension. This extension comes as the nation continues to recover from the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The decision highlights the importance of sustaining economic growth and safeguarding the livelihoods of vulnerable populations.
The extension was announced by the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba, during a ministerial townhall meeting held in Benin City. The meeting brought together beneficiaries of the NG-CARES program from Edo, Delta, Bayelsa, and Rivers States. Prince Agba emphasized the urgency of supporting MSMEs and addressing the challenges faced by the country’s food supply chains.
The COVID-19 pandemic had far-reaching effects on economies globally, and Nigeria was no exception. The NG-CARES program was introduced to mitigate the adverse consequences on the nation’s MSMEs, which are crucial drivers of employment and economic growth. The program has been instrumental in supporting the formal and informal businesses that have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
During the ministerial townhall meeting, Prince Agba highlighted the critical role played by NG-CARES in maintaining livelihoods and creating new job opportunities.
He stated, “The effects of COVID-19 still live with us. That is where the NG-CARES program is still very apt. So we all recall that COVID-19, which ravaged many economies in the world, had devastating consequences on the livelihoods of the poor and vulnerable individuals, formal and informal businesses, especially the Micro, Small Enterprises.”
To combat the challenges posed by the pandemic, the Nigerian government disbursed N1 billion to each state, excluding Lagos, which received N10 billion due to its higher population and economic significance. Kano State also received additional funding to address its specific needs. Furthermore, the government has been actively pursuing a $750 million loan from the World Bank to provide comprehensive support to states across three key areas essential for economic recovery.
Recognizing the need for sustained assistance, the World Bank’s extension of the NG-CARES program until June 2024 is a significant milestone for Nigeria’s post-COVID recovery. The approval was welcomed by Prince Agba, who expressed his satisfaction and confirmed that an official letter would be received from the World Bank soon. The additional year will enable the program to continue empowering MSMEs, revitalizing the nation’s food security, and ensuring a resilient supply chain that can withstand future challenges.
Moreover, in anticipation of upcoming transitions of governors across the states, the Nigerian government has proactively addressed potential cash crunch issues. Prince Agba revealed that cash advancements would be provided to all 36 states, further demonstrating the government’s commitment to restoring livelihoods, ensuring food security, and facilitating the recovery of MSMEs.
SnackFix From Bühler Adds Value to Local Grains in Nigeria and Boosts Food Security
The SnackFix small-scale cereal bar production system from Swiss technology group Bühler is the ideal solution for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to add value to locally produced grains in Nigeria and assist the country to address food security, says Manuel Murrenhoff, Managing Director, Bühler Nigeria.
On-the-go snacking consumption in Nigeria is rising steadily, presenting opportunities for SMEs to enter the market. “In terms of bars, fruit, and sweet snacks alone, this market segment is expected to exceed half a million tonnes by 2025,” says Murrenhoff. The main driver is the burgeoning population, estimated at 223.8 million in 2023, a 2.41% increase over 2022, and expected to grow to 377 million by 2050.
“The economically active part of the Nigerian population is quite sizeable and very mobile, which is boosting on-the-go snacking consumption,” says Murrenhoff. In addition, with half of the population living below the poverty line, there is more than ever the need to drive consumption of the full range of locally grown grains to keep final product prices in check.
“With the price of wheat projected to rise to record heights, Nigeria cannot possibly feed the growing population by importing wheat and other products. On the one hand, there is a shortage of forex and on the other hand, prices are escalating globally. That is where innovation, using local grains, plays an important role in food security, especially as these can be successfully incorporated into ready-to-eat foods,” says Murrenhoff.
Iyore Amadasun, Sales and Channel Business Manager at Bühler Nigeria, says that Bühler’s Snackfix, designed for food producers seeking a share from the on-the-go snack segment, promotes the processing of locally sourced grains for snacks while maintaining the highest food safety standards.
SnackFix is a multi-grain solution that allows SMEs to innovate across the spectrum of locally produced grains in Nigeria. The technology presents an entry-level, plug-and-play solution that is compact, cost-effective, and easy to commission and operate.
SnackFix includes a continuous mixer, a cooling tunnel, and a cutting system, all in one – everything needed for quality production. The combination allows SMEs to manufacture a huge variety of cereal bars at a volume of up to 130 kg per hour.
Customers benefit from Bühler’s experience in product development using a wide range of locally produced grains including, for example, sesame seeds, cashews, and peanuts. “We can help newcomers in the market achieve the best recipe to satisfy functional and indulgence consumer requirements in this segment and then supply them with a customised solution,” says Amadasun. In addition, Bühler has an innovation centre and laboratory in Switzerland to assist with different formulations and product development.
“The ready-to-eat market is of strategic importance to Nigeria, as it can adapt local grains for snacking consumption, promote healthy eating habits, and at the same time assist with Food Security,” says Amadasun.
With offices in Lagos and Kano, Bühler Nigeria is a leader in grain and food processing and offers solutions for grain drying and storage, flour milling, rice milling, cacao and chocolate processing, wafer and biscuit, pasta and noodles, feed, and aqua feed milling. Bühler Nigeria also provides support in the form of solutions for ink and coating applications and flexible packaging systems.
Nominations are Open for the 2023 Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) Awards
The Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) has announced the call for nominations for the 2023 AWIEF Awards
The Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) has announced the call for nominations for the 2023 AWIEF Awards.
In its seventh edition, since 2017, the prestigious awards recognise, honour, and celebrate the achievements of female entrepreneurs and business owners in Africa, across various industry sectors, for their contribution to the continent’s inclusive economic growth and development.
Nominees for the AWIEF Awards are both emerging and established female entrepreneurs and founders who have demonstrated outstanding vision, leadership, inspiration, and success in their businesses in line with AWIEF’s core areas of innovation, technology, entrepreneurship, leadership, and socio-economic development.
The AWIEF Awards cover eight categories, each with specific criteria for qualification:
- Young Entrepreneur Award
- Tech Entrepreneur Award
- Agri Entrepreneur Award
- Creative Industry Award
- Empowerment Award
- Energy Entrepreneur Award
- Social Entrepreneur Award
- Lifetime Achievement Award
Nominations for the 2023 AWIEF Awards are open and will close on 17 July 2023. Candidates can either self-nominate themselves or be nominated by anybody else. Entries will be judged by an esteemed panel of business leaders and professionals.
The winners will be announced at a special ceremony and gala dinner in Kigali, Rwanda, during the AWIEF2023 Conference which will take place on 9 and 10 November 2023.
To nominate someone for an award, follow these steps:
- Click here
- Register your entrant profile by clicking “Submit an entry” in the top right-hand corner of the page.
- Fill in the nomination form and submit.
Nominations close at 23.59 CAT on 17 July 2023.
African Development Bank Empowers Women Entrepreneurs in Sahel Region with $950,000 Grant
The African Development Bank (AfDB) has announced a groundbreaking initiative to support women entrepreneurs in the Sahel region.
In a significant step towards promoting gender equality and economic empowerment in Africa, the African Development Bank (AfDB) has announced a groundbreaking initiative to support women entrepreneurs in the Sahel region.
The bank’s Gender Equality Trust Fund will provide a grant of $950,000 to the Africa Small and Medium Enterprise Business Linkages Program. This funding, in addition to an earlier $3.9 million financing grant, aims to uplift 1,400 women-led enterprises and contribute to the region’s economic resilience and social cohesion.
“We are excited to extend the impact of the program that will reach more than a thousand women entrepreneurs across the Sahel region,” said Malado Kaba, the Bank’s Director for Gender, Women and Civil Society. “We believe one key to building resilient African societies is the inclusion of women in economic development. The program’s wide range of business-related training and coaching – in addition to increasing access to finance – will go a long way toward reaching that goal,” she added.
The Gender Equality Trust Fund’s support aligns with the bank’s overarching initiative, the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) program. AFAWA aims to address the staggering $42 billion gender financing gap faced by women-led African enterprises and focuses on promoting gender-transformative lending and non-lending operations.
Investors King understands that Sahel region’s women entrepreneurs face significant barriers in accessing finance, markets, and business development services. To overcome these challenges and unlock their potential, the Africa Small and Medium Enterprise Business Linkages Program will equip women entrepreneurs with the necessary tools and resources.
This will help increase productivity, employment opportunities, and capacity building in entrepreneurship, core business functions, and management training.
However, to ensure the program’s success, the bank’s Gender, Women, and Civil Society Department conducted three studies and consulted with the Sahel region Chambers of Commerce, these studies help identified women-led businesses that will participate in the program.
Also, the bank supports national statistics offices in collecting gender-responsive data, enabling accurate measurement of the program’s impact.
The G5 Sahel Union of Chambers of Commerce will administer the Africa Small and Medium Enterprise Business Linkages Program in collaboration with financial institutions and intermediaries. This strategic partnership aims to directly support access to finance for local small and medium enterprises, creating a supportive ecosystem for women entrepreneurs in the Sahel region.
The Africa Small and Medium Enterprise Business Linkages Program aligns with the African Development Bank’s 2021-2024 Private Sector Development Strategy, its 2021-2025 Gender Strategy, and the 2022-2026 strategy for addressing fragility and building resilience in Africa.
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