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03.10.2008 Business & Finance

First grants awarded to drive African business

First grants awarded to drive African business
AECF issues $6.5 million to region's firms
Over a million rural households in some of Africa's poorest countries stand to benefit from grants awarded by a DFID-supported fund.

Launched earlier this year, the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) has just issued its first six grants to businesses operating in countries including Uganda, Cameroon, Ghana, Sierra Leone and Malawi. A total of around $6.5 million will help the firms try out new ideas designed to generate economic growth and create jobs and opportunities for the region's most impoverished people.

Sixteen business plans were submitted for this first wave of funding. Of the six winners, four relate to agribusiness and two to rural financial services. One project, awarded a $1 million grant, will bring mobile banking to East Africa, while another, awarded $1.5 million, will develop a community-owned sugar farm in Malawi.

The second round of winners will be decided by the Investment Committee of the AECF in December.

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