The Technical Assistance Facility (TAF) is a grant based facility, that will support capacity building for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) invested in by the African Agriculture Fund (AAF) and its SME Fund, improve linkages between outgrower, smallholders and the companies invested in by the AAF and enhance rural financing opportunities in areas where AAF invests.
TAF was innovated to support AAF, a private equity fund, managed by Phatisa, to address food security challenges across the African continent. The purpose of this facility is to provide technical assistance to agri and food related businesses that receive investment through the AAF, allowing them to create new opportunities for smallholder farmers, farmer business groups and rural communities.
TechnoServe was appointed in October 2011 by IFAD to manage this facility. TechnoServe is a US headquartered not-for-profit organisation with over 40 years of experience catalysing private-sector led inclusive economic growth in Africa.
As the TAF Manager, TechnoServe will work with the Phatisa team to identify technical assistance (TA) needs of AAF portfolio companies, develop recommendations for TA support, identify and contract TA providers to deliver this support, and manage the delivery of TA projects to address these needs.
The TAF team is led by the TAF Senior Advisor, Sarah Holmes, who is a senior manager and business development specialist with nearly 10-years of experience spanning both the private and development sectors.
It is estimated that TAF, working with AAF, will reach 20,000 smallholder farmers in Africa. Whilst AAF is expected to directly create between 2,000 and 4,000 jobs and indirectly drive the creation of many thousands more.
TAF WILL SUPPORT AAF PORTFOLIO COMPANIES
TAF is focused on assisting agri and food related companies invested in by the AAF, improving linkages with outgrowers, smallholders and/or SMEs supplying AAF investee companies with goods or services. This could include funding projects such as:
- designing outgrower schemes;
- organising and building the capacity of smallholder farmers;
- providing technical assistance to farmer organisations;
- facilitating third party input finance for outgrowers;
- training farm service providers;
- quality certifications;
- improving accounting standards and procedures;
- conducting market research;
- improving market linkages;
- developing growth strategies; and
- improving human resource systems.
TAF can also fund projects aimed at improving rural financing in the areas surrounding portfolio companies of the AAF. This may include projects such as assessing demand for financial services on a gender disaggregated basis, mapping and disseminating information about rural finance institutions and related infrastructure, facilitating training for rural financial institution staff and encouraging and enhancing new product development to better meet local requirements.
TAF can fund technical assistance projects worth up to US$ 500,000 for each company invested in by AAF. All TAF projects must deliver development outcomes with a particular focus on the number of direct and indirect jobs created and the incomes increased by the projects.
As the appointed TAF Manager, TechnoServe is responsible for making recommendations regarding technical assistance projects in conjunction with the AAF, Phatisa and investee companies. TAF projects will be evaluated and approved by a “Technical Assistance Committee”, which is comprised of Phatisa, the AAF Advisory Board Chairman, the AAF SME Fund Manager, IFAD and other TAF donors.
Once a particullar project is approved, TAF will identify and select the service providers to deliver the projects. The TAF team will monitor the implementation of all TA projects funded by the TAF and reserves the right to terminate projects in accordance with its approved procedures.
TAF represents an unprecedented opportunity for high potential agri and food businesses across Africa to access equity investment and technical assistance in parallel.
Izelle le Roux-Owen Corporate Communications & Investor RelationsEmail firstname.lastname@example.org
Sarah Marchand Senior TAF Advisor - TechnoServe