The government of the Togolese Republic and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) signed a loan and grant agreement today for a US$39.6 million project that will provide needed financial and technical supports and job-creation opportunities for small businesses in rural communities throughout the West African nation.
The Togo National Rural Entrepreneurship Project will be co-financed with a $10.8 million loan and a $10.8 million grant from IFAD directly, plus support from other technical and financial institutions and the government of Togo. The financing agreement was signed at IFAD headquarters in Rome by Adji Otèth Ayassor, Minister of Economy and Finance of the Republic of Togo, and Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of IFAD.
Small farming and artisanal businesses account for more than 70 per cent of all private enterprises in Togo, it is estimated. The new Rural Entrepreneurship Project is designed to help these small businesses to expand and provide new job opportunities for some 280,000 young unemployed women and men in all five regions of the country: Maritime, Plateaux, Centrale, Kara and Savanes. The IFAD-backed project will also seek to improve rural business access to credit and markets.
The project will be managed by Togo's Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, complementing and reinforcing other current rural development initiatives in the country, such as the Support to Agricultural Development Project funded by IFAD, the Agriculture Sector Support Project and the Private Sector Development Support Project by the World Bank and the Grass-roots Development Support Project funded by the African Development Bank.
The project will also help improve conditions for micro and small rural enterprises and support their growth on promising production and transformation systems, and growing markets. It will also improve access to financial services in facilitating sustainable business relationship between micro and small rural enterprises and with viable financial institutions.
Since 1983, IFAD has invested a total of $76.1 million in 7 programmes and projects in Togo, with a total cost of $219.7 million including cofinancing, benefiting 183,150 Togolese families.