AfDB channels $101m to Angola’s ag

The funds will be used to build infrastructure, including irrigation systems and storage facilities, in Cabinda Province, improving smallholders’ access to agricultural inputs and credit.

The African Development Bank has approved a $101 million loan aimed at helping Angola develop its agricultural value chain in Cabinda Province, a project that has a total cost of $123.2 million.

“The African Development Bank is funding $101.07 million, the government $19.91 million and beneficiaries $2.17 million (in-kind contribution),” a spokesman for the bank told Agri Investor in an e-mailed response.

The funds will go towards improving production inputs in crops, fisheries and livestock as well as building enabling infrastructure across all four municipalities that comprise the province. This includes extending the electrical power grid, rehabilitating feeder roads, installing water boreholes for potable and sanitation systems, building irrigation systems, and produce preservation warehouses, as well as primary schools and medical facilities.

According to AfDB’s spokesman, the loan will directly benefit 51,000 economically active rural agricultural smallholders in all four municipalities: Belize, Buco Zau, Cacongo and Cabinda City, which have a total population of nearly 690,000 people.

“The indirect beneficiaries include existing 15 small-, medium- and large-scale entrepreneurs and business associations who provide services to the producers and processors,” the spokesman said, adding that this figure is expected to increase significantly when other economically-active value chain entrepreneurs become involved in the project.

The project aims to increase farmers’ food security and incomes, the latter by an estimated 25 percent. In addition to developing the agri value chain and investing in the region’s infrastructure, the project also includes programs that will train smallholders – a large percentage of whom are women and young people – on agricultural techniques and agribusiness-related entrepreneurial skills. An estimated 15,000 new jobs will be created as a result of the project, the bank said.

“This project will help address persistent economic and social problems in Cabinda, in particular, the high unemployment and poverty rates,” said Angola’s finance minister Augusto Archer de Sousa Mangueira.

Largely dependent on oil revenues, the African country has seen its real GDP growth drop from 12.6 percent in 2006-10 to 4.7 percent in 2011-15. In 2016, economic growth slowed to 0.1 percent, according to the AfDB, leading the government to cut infrastructure expenditures 55 percent between 2014 and 2017.

However, the country did experience a slight economic recovery last year, posting an estimated 2.1 percent growth rate thanks to strong performance in the agricultural, fisheries and energy sectors. Economic growth is expected to remain at a modest 2.4 percent in 2018 and 2.8 percent in 2019.

Since the start of its activities in Angola in 1980, the AfDB has approved a total of 44 loans and grants amounting to a cumulative commitment of $2.07 billion, the spokesman said.

The bank suspended operations in 1993 due to the country’s civil war and resumed operations in December 2001. According to the AfDB’s website, the loans supported a number of economic sectors, such as agriculture, rural development and environment (49 percent), health and education (27 percent), water and sanitation (16 percent) and multi-sector (eight percent).