WASHINGTON, D.C. - On December 7, 2017, the U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF) and the Government of Benin both announced doubling their commitment to support small and medium enterprises in underserved communities in Benin. USADF and the Government of Benin will each contribute $1 million a year for a total of $10 million dollars over the next 5 years, to be invested directly at the community level.
“This partnership demonstrates that for the last ten years, the Government of Benin has trusted and relied on USADF’s demand-responsive and participatory approach to reach underserved populations, smallholder farmers, and women entrepreneurs to bring them all into Benin’s growth story,” says C.D. Glin, USADF President and CEO. “We are honored to work with the Government of Benin to bring peace and prosperity to the people of Benin through local enterprise development.”
“For ten years at our side, USADF has led the fight against poverty, ignorance and exclusion in Benin. The Government of Benin appreciates the services of USADF for the benefit of small and medium enterprises and marginalized communities of our country,” says the Honorable Minister Kérékou, Minister of Small and Medium Enterprises and Employment Promotion.
Since 2007, USADF and the Government of Benin have invested a total of $10 million dollars to improve agriculture, increase incomes, and empower underserved communities. Together they have funded 77 community enterprises and reached over 65,000 smallholder farmers, nearly 70 percent of whom are women. Through this co-funding partnership, USADF aligned its country strategy with the goals and priorities of the Government of Benin to develop and expand small and medium enterprises, promote women’s entrepreneurship, and increase agricultural productivity and exports. USADF currently makes the largest USG investments in Benin’s agricultural sector, including in value chains with potential for export through the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) such as shea and cashew nuts.
Community enterprises like Mialebouni Association, a women's cassava processing cooperative, are among those to benefit from seed capital and technical assistance. With an enterprise expansion grant to improve the labor-intensive process of cassava farming, Mialebouni used the grant to purchase innovative, mobile processing stations designed to meet their members’ needs, reduce hardships and increase profits. With help from the USADF grant, Mialebouni has tripled its sales revenues through value addition, such as garri production with added flavor and nutritional supplements.
The signing ceremony took place at the Ministry of Medium and Small Enterprises and Employment Promotion in Cotonou, Benin. In attendance at the ceremony was U.S. Ambassador to Benin Lucy Tamlyn and representatives from various ministries in the Government of the Benin.
The U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF) is an independent U.S. Government agency established by Congress to support and invest in African owned and led enterprises which improve lives and livelihoods in poor and vulnerable communities in Africa. For more information, go to www.usadf.gov.
For official press release, click here.