The United States Agency for International Development, USAID-funded West Africa Trade and Investment Hub, is targeting sustainable growth through private sector investment.
The agency in a 2-day workshop it recently organised on “Leveraging Private Sector Engagement to Promote Sustainable Impact” highlighted the Trade Hub’s efforts to expand trade and investment opportunities and improve livelihoods and communities in West Africa.
USAID said in a statement that Nigeria has a vast untapped pool of labour in the largest economy and market in Africa, which, together, represent vast potential for economic growth.
“There is an opportunity to become a dominant exporter and hub for the West Africa region and the broader continent.
“Over the past five years, USAID has promoted private sector-led economic growth in Nigeria by facilitating $205 million in debt and equity investments for Nigerian agribusinesses.
“USAID also provided partial risk guarantees that will support up to $120 million in loans to agricultural, health, and renewable energy businesses,” the agency said.
It further noted that “the Trade Hub improves private sector competitiveness with a focus on increasing the agricultural productivity and profitability of smallholder farmers in Nigeria and promoting West Africa’s regional and international trade.
“Using a market-based approach, the project also increases partnerships with firms in various sectors through a co-investment grant facility to improve private sector productivity, profitability, and competitiveness.
“Since the Trade Hub was launched in 2019, the project has catalyzed 93 private-sector investments across 16 West African countries. In Nigeria, partners include fruit and cereal processing companies, agricultural input companies, financial advisers, investment firms and anchor farms.
“The Trade Hub has awarded $82.6 million in co-investment grants to these companies, generated over $463 million in sales, and created over 60,000 jobs,” it said.
USAID Acting Mission Director, Sara Werth, was quoted as saying “Together, with our private sector partners and local and national governments throughout the region, we are so proud of the results we have achieved till date.
“As we continue to partner in the work necessary for sustainable economic growth, financial inclusion, and climate resilience, today’s learning event provides the environment to fuel continued collaboration and build new connections.”