AUDA-NEPAD Grow Africa for Value-chain Identification Initiative
AUDA-NEPAD Grow Africa for Value-chain Identification Initiative
Increasing private-sector investment in agriculture and accelerating the execution and impact of investments in Africa


African countries, as least developed economies, struggle with the production of knowledge; this struggle is aggravated when considering the production of accessible information, since knowledge remains, for the most part, restricted to a small population. The lack of a strong network to connect knowledge and foster economic development means that innovations often become restricted to a small share of rural workers and fail to reach local communities. The access to good practices in industry, services and trade is very constrained, with poor alignment between public and private stakeholders to promote investment.

Towards a Solution

Grow Africa, an effort by the African Union Development Agency (AUDA)-New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD)[1], “works to increase private sector investment in agriculture, and accelerate the execution and impact of investment commitments. The aim is to enable countries to realise the potential of the agriculture sector for economic growth and job creation, particularly among smallholder farmers, women and youth.”[2] The practice is guided by local partners, who attempt to create a market-guided culture that enhances the potential for investments and create business opportunities. It has been successful in suppressing a key deficiency in African agriculture, which is the weak business awareness of local producers.

The Grow Africa business model consist of six steps, “each step feeding to the next or occurring simultaneously depending on country context. The first phase begins with convening of multi-stakeholder platforms…around priority agriculture value chains to align investments from the public and private sector. In the second phase, business case studies are undertaken to identify value chain constraints, opportunities, potential markets for commercialization as well as impact on small holder farmers.”[3] In the third phase, with opportunities identified, “national investment forums are organized to attract both domestic and international private sector. Once opportunities have been identified and aligned to potential investors,…the fourth phase…entails entering into public-private partnerships”.[4] In the fifth phase, the initiative focuses on groundwork, deploying specialists for in-country facilitation of investment deals and execution. Finally, the sixth phase involves mutual accountability and knowledge-sharing, with periodic reporting of results,[5] for increased transparency in the process.

As outcomes, Grow Africa “established six new multi-stakeholder platforms in partnership with country stakeholders in Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Malawi and Nigeria, focusing on pineapple, mango, rice, cassava and oilseeds as priority value chains”.[6] In terms of investment, an estimated $30 million worth of potential business has been identified, and the initiative hosted Investment Facilitation Conferences in both Malawi and Uganda in March and April 2019, respectively. “Potential investors in key value chains were convened, investment prospects showcased, and robust public-private sector dialogue occasioned on investor challenges and solutions…Grow Africa is in advanced discussions with an Africa-based company in the coffee industry looking to invest in an agro-processing programme designed to contribute to reshaping the disparities of the African value chain in the coffee sector particularly in Côte d’Ivoire…Grow Africa has entered into a partnership with John Deere, an American corporation with global footprint specializing in the manufacturing of agricultural, construction and forestry machinery for potential investment in rice and cassava mechanization in Ghana. The investment will render postharvest processing and marketing activities more efficient and effective.”[7]

“Given Grow Africa’s continental mandate, the programme will continue to support countries to institute the Country Agribusiness Partnership Framework for structured investment mobilisation in agriculture,”[8] with a target of reaching more than 15 African Union member States in 2020. As an AUDA-NEPAD action that is broad in scope, with the participation of multiple countries in South-South cooperation, it is safe to state that the project is sustainable in terms of governance and of environmental responsibility and replicable at the international and local levels. “This is an ongoing process and feeds into the continental African Union accountability mechanism. Data from this process feeds into the Joint Sector Reviews of respective countries as well as into the CAADP Biennial Review reporting.”[9]

[1] AUDA-NEPAD is the development agency of the African Union. See
[2] AUDA-NEPAD, “Making African agriculture more attractive for investors”, 29 May 2019, p. 1. Available at
[3] Ibid., p. 2.
[4] Ibid.
[5] Ibid.
[6] Ibid., p. 3.
[7] Grow Africa, “Making African agriculture more attrative to investors”, p. 2. Available at
[8] AUDA-NEPAD, Making..., p. 6.
[9] Ibid., p. 2.

Contact Information

Mr. Hamady Diop, Head of Technical Cooperation and Advisory Services, AUDA-NEPAD

Countries involved


Supported by

AUDA-NEPAD, African Union and World Economic Forum

Implementing Entities

AUDA-NEPAD and African Governments

Project Status


Project Period


URL of the practice

Primary SDG

02 - Zero Hunger

Secondary SDGs

08 - Decent Work and Economic Growth, 09 - Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, 10 - Reduced Inequalities, 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production

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