Two Co-Investment Partnerships Signed!
The Trade Hub is excited to announce its first co-investment partnerships with WACOT Rice Limited, and Koster Keunen. These two grants, valued at $3.4 million, will generate over $15 million of new private investment into the region and create over 4,000 new jobs. In this issue, you can learn more about these dynamic co-investment partnerships and other developments about the Trade Hub.
Message from the Chief of Party
Greetings to you all!
With the end of the year in-sight, it is time for us to take our foot off the gas slightly, look ahead into the new year, and look into the rear-view mirror to see how far we have come in our first year of operations. I read somewhere that success in life is not an event or a destination, but a journey; a long and winding road measured by how far you’ve traveled under your own steam from where you started to where you are now. 

On that basis, we have had a very successful first year and traveled further than we ever imagined. With humility, I can say that much of our success was indeed under our own steam. Nevertheless, we are quick to acknowledge with true gratitude the enabling role that all our colleagues at the different USAID missions have played in clearing the highways for us to accelerate at speed. Our achievements in Year 1 have been published elsewhere. We are proud of those and there is no need to recount them here. 

However, I am in haste to add that what we do ‘best’ is to create co-investment partnerships with private sector businesses and conceptualize practical solutions that will make a difference to hundreds of thousands of poorer people’s lives across West Africa. By catalyzing vast amounts of new private sector investment into dozens of new economic growth projects that, these partnerships will create new jobs, improve livelihoods, and increased household incomes for people who are most in need. Our private sector partners have really risen to the challenge. At the end of Year 1, our $96 million Co-Investment Fund has elicited co-investment pledges of over $1.2 billion from our private sector partners. The stage is set for Year 2, and the platform has been laid out. Therefore, it is time to scale. 
At the Trade Hub, we scale in two ways: 1) We scale up by doing more of the same, but smarter, better, and faster, and 2) We scale-out, by doing new things. Three new aspects we have included in our manifesto for Year 2 are to seek out innovative opportunities that counter global climate change, promote nutrition, and enable the journey to self-reliance. These pillars will regularly be integrated within the Trade Hub’s co-investment partnerships across the region whenever possible.
We hope that you will join us on our journey. It remains only for me to thank you, on behalf of the Trade Hub team and all our stakeholders and partners, for your support and encouragement in Year 1. We wish you and yours a blessed, peaceful, and safe holiday season. 
Take care and see you next year!
Michael Clements
Chief of Party
West Africa Trade & Investment Hub

Supporting 5,000 Rice Farmers in Kebbi State, Nigeria with WACOT Rice
The Trade Hub announced its first co-investment partnership on December 14, 2020, with WACOT Rice Ltd, a Nigerian-based company. The goal of the partnership is to increase and expand smallholder out-grower rice farming by transforming the lives of more than 5,000 smallholder rice farmers. This co-investment partnership will facilitate an additional 5,143 hectares and produce over 20,000 tons of harvested rice to respond to food security under USAID’s Feed the Future initiative in Nigeria. Thanks to the co-investment grant provided by the Trade Hub, WACOT Rice will be investing $8.6 million of new private investment into the rice value chain in Kebbi state.

“We go down to the grassroots and ensure that [smallholders] are empowered for life,”
Habiba Suleiman, Strategy and Business Development Manager at WACOT Rice

Increasing the Value of Beeswax Export with Koster Keunen
Koster Keunen will receive a co-investment grant of almost $2 million to organize a West African beekeeping supply chain that meets international standards for honey and beeswax. The activity anticipates over $8 million of new exports to the U.S. and promotes two-way trade and investment under the Prosper Africa initiative. Koster Keunen will provide equipment, training, new technology, and facilitate certifications for over 14,000 smallholders in Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, and Togo.

New Grant Solicitation Launched for COVID-19 Rapid Response in Cabo Verde
As part of its COVID-19 rapid response, the Trade Hub launched a grant solicitation targeting businesses with interest to invest in Cabo Verde and mitigate the economic crisis caused by the pandemic. The Trade Hub is working closely with the Cabo Verdean government and the U.S Embassy in Praia to ensure that the co-investment opportunities and partnerships drive economic development in the country. With over $1 million dedicated to co-investment grants within Cabo Verde, the Trade Hub will explore opportunities with the private sector in various sectors to increase access to finance for SMEs and retain jobs.  

Q&A with Michael Clements, Chief of Party
The Trade Hub will provide $36 million in co-investment grants to support businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic, with an emphasis on stabilizing supply chains, increasing access to financing, and retaining jobs. We sat down with Michael Clements, the Chief of Party of the Trade Hub, to get his insights on COVID-19’s impact on West Africa’s private sector and how the Trade Hub can continue to catalyze economic growth despite severe disruptions.

Providing Technical Assistance to Export Duty-Free to the United States under AGOA 
The Trade Hub provides technical assistance to companies with high export potential looking to export duty-free to the U.S. under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). Through a series of webinars, the AGOA specialist, Kara Diallo, has assisted businesses across the region on how to successfully export duty-free and navigate through the process. The Trade Hub has reached over 500 businesses through webinars in partnership with valued stakeholders in Cabo Verde, Ghana, Benin, Liberia, and Nigeria. The Trade Hub also provides one-on-one technical assistance to businesses linking them to U.S. buyers.
The Trade Hub regularly organizes knowledge sharing sessions for businesses across the region. Please visit our AGOA webpage and reach out for additional information and technical assistance opportunities at
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