The Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) has launched a program aimed at transforming the role of women in agriculture value chains in Kano State, Nigeria, to increase incomes, improve climate resilience, and transform their livelihoods.
The programme tagged Investing in Women in Nigeria (IIW-Nigeria), a CAN $15.7 million initiative funded by Global Affairs Canada (GAC) which targets value chains including maize, rice, soya bean, groundnut, and poultry, will identify unique and innovative business ideas with demonstrable social impact.
Using a challenge fund model, investees who offer innovative solutions in the target value chains will be identified through a competitive process that provides fair and equal access to available funding through non-repayable grants.
IIW-Nigeria will also provide non-financial technical assistance on gender equality, human rights advocacy, business and management, and climate-smart agriculture. Additionally, customized technical assistance will be provided through the AECF Advisory Studio.
The program will foster partnership and close coordination with multiple stakeholders, including business membership organizations, community-based organizations, women’s rights organizations, financial institutions, and government ministries, including agriculture, women’s affairs, commerce, and cooperative development.
According to the World Bank’s Nigeria Development Update, agriculture remains a crucial sector in the Nigerian economy, accounting for 25 percent of the GDP and employing a significant proportion of the workforce. However, the sector is yet to recover from the recession that hit the country in 2020.
Victoria Sabula, CEO of the AECF, said, “It is well known that women face significant barriers in accessing funding, technical support, and business capacity development opportunities in the agriculture sector. These barriers have hindered their ability to grow sustainably and fully participate in the economic development of our country. Through the Investing in Women in Nigeria Programme, we will promote women’s economic empowerment in the agricultural sector by investing in businesses and cooperatives operating in various agricultural value chains.”
His Excellency, Alh. Abba Kabiru Yusuf, Executive Governor of Kano State, said, “As we launch the ‘Investing in Women in Nigeria Programme,’ in partnership with AECF, we are investing not just in the future of our agriculture sector but in the strength, resilience, and boundless potential of our women. In empowering our women, we empower our entire state and nation. Together, we shall cultivate a harvest of equality, prosperity, and progress, where every woman’s dream can flourish, and every field can yield the fruits of their labor. Together, we shall reap a bountiful and inclusive tomorrow for all.”