USAID and Norway launch $70 million FASA fund to boost agricultural growth in Africa

  • 23 Oct 2023
  • 3 Mins Read
  • 〜 by John Roy

In a landmark announcement at the 2023 UN General Assembly, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the government of Norway unveiled a groundbreaking initiative to spur investment in Africa’s agricultural sector. The Financing for Agricultural Small-and-Medium Enterprises in Africa (FASA) Fund, as it’s called, represents a pivotal step in supporting sustainable agricultural growth on the continent. With initial commitments of $35 million from USAID and Norway, the fund aspires to gather $200 million through additional donor contributions, thus unlocking a potential goldmine of commercial financing and reducing investment risk.


The FASA Fund stands out as a beacon of hope for African agriculture, with ambitious goals to support 500 small enterprises (agri-SMEs) and reach out to 1.5 million smallholder farmers. The ripple effect of this initiative is predicted to positively impact the lives of nearly 7.5 million people while simultaneously generating around 60,000 private sector jobs across the continent.


The dire need for such an initiative becomes apparent when considering the role of agriculture in Africa’s economic development. Agriculture is a critical sector in many African economies, serving as the primary source of income and employment for most of the population. However, challenges like limited access to finance, infrastructure constraints, and a lack of modern farming practices have hindered the growth and development of this sector. The FASA Fund represents a strategic approach to addressing these issues and fostering sustainable economic growth in the region.


The commitment of the USA and Norway to provide an initial total of $70 million for the FASA Fund sends a strong signal to the international community about the importance of supporting agriculture in Africa. The fund is designed to address the challenges faced by smallholder farmers and stimulate investment from commercial sources by mitigating risk. Through the fund, agricultural entrepreneurs and small enterprises in Africa will have access to the financing and resources they need to expand their operations, adopt modern practices, and ultimately contribute to the continent’s food security and economic stability.


The FASA Fund is set to operate as a multi-stakeholder initiative, with partnerships being sought with governments, non-governmental organisations, financial institutions, and private sector companies. By leveraging a wide array of resources and expertise, the fund aims to maximize its impact, ensuring that investments result in meaningful, sustainable change. It is a testament to the power of collaboration in addressing complex global challenges.


The expected outcomes of this initiative are both far-reaching and heartening. By supporting 500 agri-SMEs and 1.5 million smallholder farmers, the FASA Fund can potentially transform Africa’s agricultural landscape. As these enterprises grow and prosper, they will benefit the individuals directly involved and the countless communities and regions reliant on the farming sector.


Moreover, the creation of approximately 60,000 private sector jobs is set to boost local economies, create opportunities for the youth, and contribute to the overall economic growth of the continent. Through initiatives like FASA, we can harness the full potential of Africa’s agriculture and unlock the path to a more prosperous and food-secure future.


Launching the FASA Fund at the 2023 U.N. General Assembly signifies a significant step forward in supporting Africa’s agricultural growth and development. With the commitments from USAID and Norway and the aspiration to raise $200 million, this fund is poised to make a remarkable difference in the lives of millions. By addressing the challenges faced by agri-SMEs and smallholder farmers and creating jobs, FASA is a beacon of hope for a brighter and more prosperous future for the people of Africa. It exemplifies the potential that can be unlocked when nations come together to address global challenges.