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The European Union, the Government of Tanzania and EDFI AgriFI launch new Country Window in Tanzania

A month after the official launch of the AgriFI-Tanzania Country Window during the EU-Africa Business Forum in Brussels[i], the Delegation of the European Union (EU) in Tanzania, the Government of Tanzania and EDFI AgriFI representatives gathered on 7 March in Dar-es-Salaam to launch the dedicated investment facility, an initiative embedded within the context of the Agri-Connect Programme of the EU[ii].

EDFI AgriFI, the EU-funded financing agriculture initiative will benefit from an additional contribution of EUR 12 million to accelerate and catalyse investments in sustainable agriculture in Tanzania over the next 4 years. This dedicated funding will allow EDFI AgriFI to provide long-term finance (up to 12 years) and technical assistance to SMEs and financial institutions committed to have a positive impact on local smallholders active in the tea, coffee, and horticulture value chains.

Hosted by the EU Ambassador, H.E. Manfredo Fanti, the launch event was graced by the presence of Minister for Agriculture, Hon. Hussein Bashe, EDFI AgriFI Manager Dimitry Van Raemdonck and representatives from the ministries, investors, financial institutions, civil society organisations and media.

In his introductory remarks, H.E Manfredo Fanti, EU Ambassador to Tanzania, explained that “With this investment we want to promote the development of agri-SMEs that have a positive impact on smallholder farmers, as well as on food & nutrition security and the environment. It is also a way for us to show other investors that it is possible to invest profitably in the agricultural sector through sustainable projects, in order to attract further financing from private sector.”

In the following panel discussion, Mihaela Marcu, Programme Manager for Blending and Financial Instruments at the EU Delegation in Tanzania, Dimitry Van Raemdonck, EDFI AgriFI Manager, and representatives from two companies active in Tanzania: Marianne Walpert (CEO of Simusolar – ElectriFI investee company) and Elia Timotheo (CEO of East Africa Fruits – AgriFI investee company) exchanged on the financing challenges faced by smallholder farmers in the country. Both CEOs underlined that blended finance instruments were instrumental in supporting and scaling up their activities but also to attract other capital. Dimitry Van Raemdonck emphasised that EDFI AgriFI mandate in Tanzania is perfectly aligned to what the instrument has achieved in other geographies: empowering smallholder farmers and their communities via investments in SMEs and financial institutions active in agriculture. “Our key focus in Tanzania is to help SMEs and financial institutions active in horticulture, coffee and tea to scale up their activities and to support these value chains of high potential. We want to help these private actors to grow and to have a positive impact on smallholders by offering investments solutions with long tenors, typically between 4 and 12 years”.

A workshop was held in the afternoon, involving some 30 Tanzanian organisations. It included a presentation of the AgriFI financial offering as well as a networking session. This exchange highlighted the persistent difficulty for most SMEs to gain access to long-term resources from financial institutions, demonstrating hence the additionality of a blending instrument like AgriFI to support the growth of agri-businesses having a positive impact on smallholders.

[i] In the context of the EU-Africa Business Forum, EDFI AgriFI launched 4 new country and regional windows for a total amount of EUR 80million

[ii] Agri-Connect aims to contribute to inclusive growth, promote private sector development, job creation and increase food and nutrition security in Tanzania by promoting the productivity, commercialization and competitiveness in the tea, coffee and horticulture sectors.

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