USAID, Western Union Launch African Diaspora Marketplace

Washington — The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Western Union Company have launched the second African Diaspora Marketplace (ADM II).

The marketplace promotes sustainable economic growth and employment by supporting U.S.-based African diaspora entrepreneurs with ideas for startup and established businesses in sub-Saharan Africa.

The second round of the ADM will focus grants toward high-priority, high-impact sectors in Africa, including agribusiness, renewable energy and information and communication technology, USAID said.

“Our support for innovative diaspora entrepreneurs is an investment in the long-term economic health of Africa, and part of our enduring community commitment,” said Hikmet Ersek, president and chief executive of Western Union. “Through this collaboration, Western Union and USAID are helping to tap the economic potential of the 1.4 million Africans living in the U.S., bringing more direct investment to the continent. The African Diaspora Marketplace will strengthen and help satisfy demand for locally produced products and services by leveraging diaspora capital and resources.”

Joining Western Union, the Western Union Foundation and USAID in the partnership are George Washington University’s Center for International Business Education and Research. The center will provide research expertise and evaluate the initial phase of business proposals. The Tony Elumelu Foundation, an African-funded foundation that promotes the competitiveness of the African private sector, is also joining the ADM II partnership.

Proposals are due by February 3, 2012, and will target the following eligible countries: Angola, Benin, Côte D’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. An estimated 15 to 30 businesses will benefit from the grants, though the final number of grants awarded will be determined based on the grant pool and program need, USAID said. The matching grant size is expected to be approximately $50,000, with an additional supplement of $25,000 to $50,000 in technical assistance.

Source:- All Africa.Com – 25 Nov 2011