British International Investment (BII), the UK’s development finance institution (DFI) and impact investor, have announced a $26.5 million commitment to AFEX Commodities Exchange to help it address food security in Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda.
AFEX, a leading commodities platform, which currently operates over 200 warehouses in Nigeria, Kenya, and Uganda, serves over 450,000 farmers.
The investment will support structural improvements in Africa’s agricultural industry, which will significantly benefit smallholder farmers and lead to improvements in food security.
BII’s investment will be used to build 20 modern warehouses in strategic locations in Nigeria, Kenya, and Uganda. The capital will also scale warehouse technology and next-generation software that captures post-harvest pricing.
The additional warehouses will provide 230,000 metric tones (MT) of storage capacity, enabling up to 200,000 more farmers to access low-cost storage and maximise sales from crop harvests, potentially helping increase farmer incomes by more than 200 per cent.
BII’s capital will also be used to develop a soybean processing plant in Ibadan, the third-largest city by population in Nigeria, and a drying facility in Uganda. The construction of the storage facilities and soy processing facilities will generate over 700 temporary jobs and more than 80 permanent roles.
Speaking at the signing ceremony in Lagos, BII Chief Executive Officer, Nick O’Donohoe said, ”The World Bank estimates that Africa’s food import bill has reached c.US$30 billion in recent decades. This is why we need to back technology-driven companies like AFEX because they help reduce that import cost by supporting smallholder farmers to increase local food production, while also boosting their incomes’’.
Speaking about the raise, AFEX Group CEO, Ayodeji Balogun, said: ”This investment from British International Investment is a landmark moment in our mission to revolutionise agriculture and elevate food security across Africa. By directing fresh capital towards the development of technologically advanced warehouses and critical facilities, we are significantly enhancing market access and income potential for smallholder farmers.
“In alignment with UN SDGs, our mission is to enable Africa to feed itself efficiently and sustainably. Today’s investment doesn’t just propel AFEX’s growth, it forges a more secure and prosperous future for an entire continent.”
British Deputy High Commissioner in Lagos, Jonny Baxter, said: ‘‘The agricultural sector stands as a vital pillar to Nigeria’s economy, playing a significant role in job creation and investment potential. The UK provided early-stage funding to AFEX, and I am delighted to see the company grow with such success.”