US agency invites local SMES to apply for Sh600 million development grant

Farmers tour exhibition stands during the national agricultural value chain forum at Egerton University, Njoro. [Suleiman Mbatiah, Standard]

Kenyan start-ups in the food value chain are set to benefit from a Sh600 million United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Africa trade and investment programme.

The funding is for firms responding to the food security crisis. USAID said the call for “Africa Food Security and Resilience Partnerships” grant opportunity offers the chance to address food insecurity and food systems resilience challenges in Africa.

“We are offering grants of Sh59.9 million ($500,000) to Sh598.9 million ($5 million) to scale access to inputs, technologies, and food that directly respond to this crisis.”

“The impacts of the Russia-Ukraine conflict are already being felt on the African continent. Currently, food shortages and supply chain disruptions have caused unprecedented increases in food prices,” said USAID.

The agency noted that rampant inflation coupled with climate-related shocks and the longer-term socio-economic impacts of Covid-19 are expected to hurt food security across the continent.

To get things done, USAID has released a “Request for Information” (RFI) form that seeks to vet potential applicants. “This RFI will … help determine what innovative solutions and interventions are most likely to yield timely results to avoid a crisis” said the agency.

The USAID Africa trade and investment programme is a five-year mechanism managed by USAID Bureau for Africa and implemented by the Washington-based development company DAI under the Prosper Africa Initiative.

It seeks to expand and accelerate trade and investment between Africa and the US.

The programme, which runs through 2026, is expected to generate thousands of jobs in Africa and within the US, increase exports and investments, mobilise private-sector solutions that create healthy business environments and spur economic opportunities for women and youth.