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Celebrating Co-Investment Partnerships and Their Profound Impact


Kudos to our co-investment partners and their teams for the transformational impact they are spearheading across West Africa!

In a world where collaboration is often the key to success, celebrating our partnerships and their profound impact on sustainable economic growth is both timely and essential. The USAID West Africa Trade & Investment Hub's (Trade Hub's) partnerships with 93 private sector companies have been catalysts for positive change, driving innovation and fostering locally-led developments impacting food security, climate change, social inclusion, productivity, competitiveness, and regional and international trade.

Our co-investment partnerships have continued to make thriving efforts to ensure transformational impacts and development in their different spheres. Our strategic goal from the start of this year has been to showcase our co-investment partners and their incredible achievements to a variety of audiences, highlighting their results and lessons learned. Just recently, on September 6 -7, 2023, we successfully hosted a strategic learning event themed: “Leveraging Private Sector Engagement to Promote Sustainable Impact.”

At this event, 25 of our co-investment partners from across the region gathered with representatives from USAID, Creative Associates International, other multilateral organizations, and government officials. The goal was to exchange knowledge, learn from one another, and capture the lessons that have been drawn from the USAID-supported Trade Hub. Through engaging presentations and multimedia displays, panel discussions, and opportunities for networking and knowledge sharing, all attendees had the opportunity to further leverage the investments of the major stakeholders to continue the work of sustainable development.

The Trade Hub, a five-year Activity launched in 2019, has continued to bolster economic growth and locally led developments in the region. The Learning Event was a great opportunity to learn directly from the co-investment partners about the great work and achievements of these partnerships. As of the end of August, these co-investment partners had generated more than 60,000 new jobs, $158 million in exports, and $463 million in regional sales of agricultural commodities; and have unlocked more than $319 million in private-sector investment.


By harnessing the power of collaboration, innovation, and transformation, these co-investment partners’ catalytic business innovations, new technologies, and impact-driven activities are driving developments in local communities, tackling some of humanity's most pressing challenges, from food security to clean energy to market accessibility, to increased productivity, and access to affordable, quality healthcare. While we celebrate our co-investment partners and their impactful contributions, it is crucial to recognize the continuing challenges they have encountered and the rising socioeconomic risk factors challenging businesses globally and in the region. Despite these challenges, the partners have continued to make great strides towards achieving their results. We will continue to support and coordinate with the partners to ensure the successful completion of their grant activities.

In this edition of The Hub Newsletter, you will learn more about the great achievements of our co-investment partners and the progress they are making in advancing sustainable development in West Africa. 

Impact Stories from Our Partners

As of September 30, 2023, the Trade Hub had awarded a total of 93 co-investment grants for $82.6 million across West Africa and leveraged $319 million in new private investment.  

Currently spanning 16 West African countries—Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Togo, Benin, Mali, Liberia, Niger, Cabo Verde, Sierra Leone, Guinea, The Gambia, Guinea Bissau, and Cameroon—the Trade Hub’s co-investment partnerships are made possible through USAID missions across West Africa and dedicated funding through the U.S. Government’s Prosper Africa and Feed the Future initiatives.


Through the results of the successful closing of five of the grant-funded co-investment projects (read more about them here), and the continuing achievements through the other portfolio partners, 2023 has been full of illustrations of how the Trade Hub and its co-investment partners are contributing significantly to economic growth in West Africa by creating jobs, boosting incomes for people working in dozens of industries, and increasing exports of agricultural and non-agricultural products sourced from or made in the region to the United States and other countries. 

The stories featured below highlight partners that are all empowering smallholder farmers. In Senegal and Ghana, these partners work directly with the farmers, while in Nigeria, the partner's project gives access to funding for innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that work to bring innovative solutions to the challenges farmers face in the region.

Agro Boye grows more while providing a local source to feed livestock 

In Senegal, a $1.1 million co-investment grant from the Trade Hub has enabled agribusiness firm, Agro Boye, to increase its capacity for horticultural production while making it easier for local farmers to feed their poultry and cattle. Where multiple factors make communities in West Africa more vulnerable to food insecurity, this partnership serves to bolster the agricultural sector and reduce continued dependence on food imports. Read more here.

Warc moves Ghana and its farmers, from subsistence to sales

The Upper West Region of Ghana is challenged by poor soils, low productivity, unpredictable rainy seasons, and a greater potential for drought, causing farmers to depend on subsistence agriculture with little produce left over for sale. The Trade Hub awarded a $1.2 million co-investment grant to Warc Group—a social enterprise that works to improve West African farmers’ incomes—to launch a project called “The New African Farmer: Regenerative Agriculture in Ghana.” It is aimed at moving 20,000 maize and soybean farmers from subsistence to commercial farming by employing climate-smart practices and providing other services to increase their yields. Read more here.

Fostering Agribusiness Competitiveness and Productivity: LoftyInc equips Africa’s agropreneurs with innovative programs for growth 

The agriculture sector in Nigeria continues to face many challenges including very low irrigation development and limited adoption of research findings and technologies. At the same time, farmers struggle with the high cost of inputs and poor access to credit. LoftyInc Allied Partners is an innovation development company based in Nigeria that leverages technology to solve social impact problems in sub-Saharan Africa. In late 2021, the Trade Hub awarded LoftyInc a co-investment grant of more than $1.4 million to launch Project Sparrow, providing investment support for a portfolio of innovative SMEs in agriculture and agriculture technology. Read more here.

Highlights of the Trade Hub Learning Event

Showcasing Private Sector Engagement for Sustainable Impact 

USAID's Trade Hub recently hosted a dynamic two-day event in Abuja, Nigeria, from September 6-7, 2023, celebrating the achievements of 93 enterprises in the region. The event, titled "Leveraging Private Sector Engagement to Promote Sustainable Impact," emphasized collaboration, innovation, and transformation. Notable speakers, including USAID/Nigeria's Acting Mission Director and the Honorable Commissioner of Kaduna State, highlighted the pivotal role of these three characteristics in the Trade Hub's success. The event, held at Fraser Suites in Abuja's Central Business District, featured five panel sessions, spotlighting private sector engagement and sustainable development financing. It also underlined the importance of women-led businesses in driving economic development. 

Since its launch in 2019, the Trade Hub has been instrumental in catalyzing 93 private-sector investments across West Africa, resulting in initiatives across 16 countries. Supported by USAID, Prosper Africa, and Feed the Future, it has awarded $82.6 million in co-investment grants, catalyzing over $319 million in new investments and creating more than 60,000 jobs. These achievements highlight the collaborative, innovative, and transformative efforts driving sustainable business foundations in West Africa, with a focus on food security, employment opportunities, climate resilience, and increased regional and international exports. Read to learn more about this event.

Reflections on the Trade Hub Learning Event

The USAID's Trade Hub learning event transcended mere gatherings; it evolved into a dynamic community-driven experience, facilitating the exchange of invaluable knowledge and experience exchange across diverse sectors.

Within this segment of our newsletter, we are delighted to share the profound impact the event had on select participants, who graciously share their insights and what they gained from the event. These testimonials echo the collective enthusiasm that drove the event and exemplify our commitment to fostering collaboration, learning, and transformative experiences in every interaction.

Partner's Spotlight: Nut for Growth (N4G)

Shea butter is a prized commodity around the world, serving as a vital raw material for the food and cosmetic industries. In West Africa, Ghana stands out as the leading exporter of unrefined shea butter, and the country has made significant strides to strengthen its production. The country’s shea value chain, however, remains rife with inefficiencies and Ghana’s place within the global shea industry remains primarily as an exporter of the unrefined butter.  

In December 2021, the Trade Hub awarded a $980,000 co-investment grant to Nuts for Growth, a Ghanaian woman-led shea butter aggregation and processing company, to support its transformation into a large-scale, inclusive industrial processor of shea kernels and soya using state-of-the-art processing technology.  

In this interview, Dora Torwiseh, CEO of Nuts for Growth, discusses her partnership with the Trade Hub and her vision for the transformation of the value chain to prioritize local industrial processing. 

Q: Nuts for Growth is currently a key player in the shea industry in Ghana. Could you shed some light on your journey and involvement in the shea industry? 


A: My journey in this industry dates back to childhood. Both my maternal and paternal grandmothers were involved in the shea nuts business long before I was born. My mother was also involved in the industry before my birth. In essence, I can safely say l am a fourth-generation participant in the industry.  

For many rural families in northern Ghana, shea nuts and the associated businesses have been the source of livelihood; my family has been no exception for decades. Growing up, I witnessed the challenges faced by rural women involved in the shea nuts industry, such as the impact of the seasonality of the crop on the economic well-being of families.  

My dream has been to design and build a sustainable shea business that empowers women and builds generational wealth while protecting the biodiversity of the ecosystem. 


Q: In Ghana, the shea value chain is highly developed, but with a predominant focus on shea nuts collection and artisanal processing. Nuts for Growth stands out by prioritizing the industrialization of this sector. Share with us how you came to prioritize industrial-scale processing as a part of your business.


A: As alluded to earlier, l have a strong desire to improve the socio-economic conditions of the women in the industry. Through experience, coupled with a value chain audit in the industry, it became obvious that much of the value of the industry sits in the downstream industrial processing section of the value chain. However, the few companies in Ghana leveraging the benefits by creating value were mostly foreign-owned. I, therefore, decided to invest in the industrial production of shea to create more value that can be shared with the rural women who drive the sector.


Q: How has the partnership with Trade Hub affected your focus on industrial processing and expansion?


A: The partnership by all measures has been strong and productive. The support from the Trade Hub team has been invaluable, especially in providing technical insights, promoting industrial linkages and networking, and most importantly, providing funding support. The Trade Hub has been effective in providing the missing links in HR Development and tools/systems to improve the critical stakeholders in the supply chain. The Trade Hub brings the needed support to improve all the “critical rings” in our supply chain.



Q: The Women for Change cooperative of more than 70,000 women is a remarkable element of Nuts for Growth’s operations. Could you share with us how you came to be involved with the cooperative, and how your partnership with the Trade Hub has affected the women you work with?


A: The flagship product in the business portfolio is shea nuts; however, shea is not cultivated like cocoa or oil palm. It is a wild crop that is harvested on a parkland. To build a strong supply chain for the raw shea nuts, l had to develop a cooperative network of 80,000 women which is anchored with strong socio-economic empowerment programs. The cooperatives are the suppliers of shea nuts to sustainably feed the processing factory. The partnership with the Trade Hub has improved the empowerment programs at the farmgate, HR Development at the factory, and route-to-market capabilities of the company.



Q: What are some of the milestones of your partnership with Trade Hub so far?


A: Over the course of our partnership, we have trained over 20,000 women and counting. We have pre-financed over 7,000 women to grow soya beans as a part of our sustainability initiatives; we have improved our laboratory setup to enhance quality control; and we have brought onboard expat process engineers to manage the factory while training our employees in factory operations.  

Q: What are your plans for Nuts for Growth, beyond the official end of this partnership with Trade Hub? 

A: We want to increase the membership of Women for Change from 80,000 to about 300,000 over the next five years, with continuing support from the Trade Hub. By increasing the number of suppliers, we plan to increase our stockpiles of raw materials and better serve our buyers. We also want to be able to integrate women into the financial network by providing lines of credit to them to improve their economic conditions. 

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Disclaimer: The contents of this newsletter are the sole responsibility of Creative Associates International and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID, the United States Government, or Prosper Africa.