On Tuesday September 14, 2021, U.S. Ambassador Eric P. Whitaker hosted a grant award ceremony at his residence to celebrate the second of two rounds of grants awarded to rural agribusinesses under the $437 million Compact between the Government of Niger and the U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). The U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF) manages the grant facility on behalf of Millennium Challenge Account Niger (MCA Niger), and representatives from MCC, MCA Niger, and USADF joined the Ambassador for the event along with nine grantees.
These grants follow a rigorous process for selecting the best project proposals submitted by hundreds of rural agribusinesses and cooperatives. Grants were awarded in two rounds. The first round financed 47 grants for a total of $4,481,268, and the second round has already made grants to 35 organizations for a total of $2,761,290. Over 50% of beneficiaries are groups of women and youth, and the beneficiaries are developing several different kinds of agribusinesses, including rainfed farming (40%), processing and marketing (37%), veterinary services (12%), supplying inputs such as seeds and fertilizer (8%), irrigated farming (4%) as well as poultry and fish farming.
“USADF’s vision is to empower those who are least served by existing markets or assistance programs to become a part of Africa’s growth story,” said Liz Feleke, USADF Acting President and CEO. “USADF’s partnership with MCC is directly in line with this vision. Through this partnership, we are working to increase incomes for climate-vulnerable communities in rural Niger by improving crop and livestock productivity and supporting the growth of African agricultural enterprises. USADF is proud of this partnership and looks forward to greater impact in Niger.”
The MCC compact funding these grants is similar to others implemented by the U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. Department of State in line with the U.S. integrated country strategy to foster accountable and stable democratic governance, counter regional threats, and promote broad-based economic growth. The compact is now in the fourth year of implementation.