Bridging the Gap

Our Projects

Feed the Future Nigeria Agribusiness Investment Activity

Connexus led the Finance and Investment Unit under CNFA’s USAID-funded Feed the Future Nigeria Agribusiness Investment Activity, which exceeded its target of facilitating$225M in agribusiness lending and investment capital through lead agribusinesses. Using a market systems and value chain approach, Connexus developed agricultural finance capacity in partner financial institutions (FIs) in the northern states of Niger, Kaduna, Kebbi, and Benue, as well as the southern states of Ebonyi, Cross River, and Delta. Our long-term team is facilitating relationships and deal structuring with lead firms, as well as their micro, small, and medium enterprise and farmer networks associated with their agricultural value chains (soy, rice, maize, aquaculture, and cowpeas). The project also improved the business and enabling environment for agriculture-led economic growth in Nigeria by promoting climate smart agriculture, advocating for positive government policy, and working in conflict-affected areas.

The team signed MOUs with 13 FIs and 14 investment funds that have demonstrated a commitment to expanding their agricultural portfolios.

  • In 2019, Connexus trained these investors on Agricultural Value Chain Finance and Market Development, as well as Financial and Cashflow Analysis for Agri-SME Lending, using real cases from Nigerian agribusinesses.
  • In 2020, Connexus delivered a training of trainers on Gender and Youth Financial Inclusion to 29 people from 12 FIs and provided follow-up technical assistance. Connexus also organized a deal making workshop for equity investors and trained 93 agri-SMEs on how to prepare an investment pitch.
  • In 2021, Connexus organized another deal making workshop for debt and equity investors, training 70 agri-SMEs on how to prepare an investment pitch, in addition to organizing a training on financial analysis for agribusiness credit, which was attended by 40 participants from 11 financial institutions, eight major banks and three microfinance institutions. Connexus also organized a virtual training on agricultural portfolio management, and eight partner FIs registered a total of 34 participants for the training.
  • In 2022, Connexus worked with several FIs to develop, adapt, and pilot test products and delivery mechanisms to expand agri-SME lending.
  • In 2023, Connexus developed four case studies documenting how the Activity expanded agricultural finance options for smallholder farmers and enterprises to reinforce collaboration and encourage innovation among other FIs and investors in Nigeria.

Connexus also managed seven subcontracts to provide support to FIs and local agribusinesses. Through three subcontracts, Connexus supported the development of digital platforms for Sterling Bank and the Ebonyi State Government, and the development of an investment guide for Niger State. Other subcontracts managed by Connexus supported an agribusiness to obtain Global Food Safety Initiative Certification, the development of a business plan and documentation requirements from their financiers, the development of a feasibility study and business proposal, and the creation of an Enterprise Resource Planning system to improve a partner’s inventory, procurement, and operational systems.

As of August 2023, the team had facilitated $244.21M in new agricultural investment to 18,166 micro, small, and medium enterprises, including more than $188M in debt and more than $55M in new capital. Of the 18,166 MSMEs benefiting from assistance, including farmers, 27% are female and 14% are youth.

Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA)