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ABC Fund deploys more capital to support agri-businesses in West Africa

The Agri-Business Capital Fund (ABC Fund) is investing a total of EUR1.6 million in two companies in the shea sector, in Mali and Côte d’Ivoire. 

The capital injection is into two shea butter processors – Mali Shi, based in the outskirts of Bamako, Mali, and Bio Amandes, in the northern region of Côte d’Ivoire.

Mali Shi is the first operational industrial-scale shea butter processing plant in Mali. It produces unrefined shea butter, which is used for the food and cosmetics industries. The company plays a crucial role in the value chain, sourcing its raw materials locally and promoting local transformation into shea butter. Shea collection is an important source of income for rural communities in Mali, especially for women. The investment in Mali Shi is a product of cooperation between IFAD and the ABC fund, leveraging on the IFAD network to help with identification of investees in line with the vision for the ABC Fund.

The ABC Fund is providing a EUR800 thousand working capital facility to Mali Shi, which procures raw shea nuts from women’s cooperatives and individual collectors based mainly in Sikasso, Ségou, Kayes and Koulikoro regions. The company also procures from local shea traders. 

Mali Shi seeks to structure a stronger direct supply network and reduce dependency on local traders. For the seasons 2021 and 2022, Mali Shi plans to source raw shea nuts from nearly 100,000 collectors, over 95 per cent of whom are women. The ABC Fund facility will help secure revenues for the collectors, while also contributing to local employment as the company expects to create 34 additional jobs. Currently, Mali Shi employs 106 people, of whom 72 per cent are youth. Beyond financing, the ABC Fund will provide technical assistance to support Mali Shi to strengthen their governance and organisational capacity, in addition to the support provided by IFC and UN Women to optimise the supply chain, increase energy efficiency and introduce renewable energy sources. 

Bio Amandes is an industrial processor of shea butter in Côte d’Ivoire, involved in both locally sourcing and producing shea butter. Through its operations, the company adds value to this sector, employs a local workforce and sources raw materials directly from 7,300 women.

Bio Amandes, which also received EUR800 thousand from the ABC Fund, will deploy the investment in both working capital and capital expenditure, the latter of which will enable it to acquire new equipment to produce a higher quantity of unrefined shea butter, a laboratory to perform quality checks and a new production line. The working capital loan will support the purchase of raw shea butter and nuts as well as covering operating expenditures. This investment will enable an increasing number of women – from 7,300 to 7,500 – to earn incomes for the collection of shea almonds, positively impacting the livelihoods of their families. It will also support direct job creation, with employment within the company estimated to grow from 35 to 48 in 2021 and to nearly double to 60 by 2025. The ABC Fund will provide technical assistance to Bio Amandes in the fields of resource planning, supply strategy, environmental and social monitoring, and certification compliance.

Jerry Parkes, CEO of Injaro Investments, comments: “We are very happy to provide financing to support the working capital needs of these two agri-businesses. Mail Shi and Bio Amandes are at the forefront of an industry that intentionally targets local value addition for a crop that is almost exclusively indigenous to Africa. Increased localisation will help reduce the carbon footprint of downstream consumers of shea derivatives while creating jobs in rural Africa, where they are badly needed. We look forward to a long and impactful relationship between these promising businesses and the ABC Fund.”

Jean-Philippe de Schrevel, Founder and Managing Partner of Bamboo Capital Partners, comments: “The ABC Fund investments will enable both companies to achieve their growth prospects and promote local transformation and economic growth in both Mali and Côte d’Ivoire. Currently, most of the exported production is unprocessed and the value chain has significant unexploited potential. Financing these companies will generate considerable impact in the wider ecosystem in bo

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