USADF helps to grow the Africa Economy
Over the last five years, the U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF) has invested more than $117 million dollars directly into over 1,000 African-owned and African-led SMEs, entrepreneurs, and community organisations and impacted over 7 million lives.
USADF provides financial and technical assistance to African enterprises and social entrepreneurs that are improving lives and livelihoods in their communities, while addressing some of Africa’s biggest challenges around food insecurity, energy poverty, and unemployment, particularly among women and youth.
One such challenge concerns the inability to rely on stable and plentiful yields in low-income areas. A lack of yield stability, coupled with a lack of preservation technologies such as cold storage facilities, has resulted in income-generating hardships for smallholder farmers.
To combat these challenges, the USADF has partnered with Power Africa to increase farmers’ use of a readily available and accessible commodity: sunshine.
A food secure future necessitates stable and maximized production for farmers with the important addition of access to wider markets. We can no longer ignore the incremental benefits harnessing the sun’s energy can provide to off-grid, rural farmers.
USADF and Power Africa jointly funded Sosai Renewable Energies, a women-owned and managed enterprise that supports pineapple farmers in Iguokakhen, a small community located in Edo State in the Niger Delta in Nigeria. The innovative project uses solar-powered dryers to dry and preserve pineapple, allaying post-harvest losses and maintaining the fruit’s value.
Over the last decade, Habiba Ali of Sosai has expanded her workforce by training her first customers – her friends and neighbors – and she now employs more than 150 saleswomen and 200 youths who install and maintain the equipment. Her products, which have expanded to include solar home kits, solar dryers, and mini-grids – which provide power to entire communities – have reached roughly 650,000 people across Nigeria.
As part of Power Africa, USADF also supported Tikondane Women Savings and Credit Association with a grant to improve energy access for off-grid households in Malawi.
Tikondane sells solar home systems used for lighting, phone charging, entertainment, and powering small businesses. Through the project, over 468 Farmers and 390 small businesses utilized the additional work time gained from light access at night to improve incomes and quality of life. In addition, with lighting at home, children can study longer at night, and health outcomes have improved by reducing the use of candles, paraffin, kerosene, and firewood.
Staying on the subject of women in business, the USADF is also providing up to US$10 million in catalytic seed funding to African graduates of the Department of State’s Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) between 2020 and 2025 to help them succeed as entrepreneurs. One of the inaugural USADF AWE grantees in Zimbabwe is Delima Consolidated Resources (Delcor Drilling), led by social entrepreneur Violet Mazuku.
With USADF grant funding, Delcor Drilling is increasing access to water by drilling, cleaning, installing, and rehabilitating boreholes, equipping each with a solar pump to ensure a steady supply of power to pump the water. Accessible portable water is estimated to eradicate at least 60 percent of community poverty amongst 360 women who can use the water from the boreholes for small-scale farming using drip irrigation. The boreholes will also be a source of water for livestock and domestic use.
There are some examples of how USADF-supported projects have created pathways to prosperity for underserved communities in Africa, by helping social entrepreneurs create and sustain jobs, thereby improving income levels and achieving greater food security, energy access and employment opportunities for their communities.
SOURCE: Content for this article was sourced from the USADF website – https://usadf.gov/stories