Business News of 2014-05-28

Esoko acquires US$1.5m funding assistance

Esoko Networks Limited has secured a US$1.5m funding facility from Acumen Fund, a New York-based nonprofit venture fund, and the Adolf H Lundin Charitable Foundation, a Liechtenstein-based nonprofit organization, to enable the Ghanaian agriculture-focused firm to grow and expand its operation into East Africa.

Acumen Fund and Adolf Lundin Foundation invested the money into Esoko’s operations through an unspecified combination of equity and debt.

Esoko is a technology platform that aims to strengthen the connection between farmers and markets in Africa with the use of mobile phones.

The Esoko technology enables farmers to monitor market prices and follow market trends and also allows other stakeholders, such as non-governmental organizations, development finance institutions, governments and mobile network operators, to profile and survey farmers and establish a better understanding of the needs of market players.

According to a statement attributed to Godfrey Mwindaare, West Africa Director at Acumen: “Esoko has the potential to empower and transform the lives of rural farmers by providing one point of access to critical information and services, thereby closing the information asymmetry gap between commercial, well-endowed farmers and the rural, one-acre farmer”.

New York-based Acumen is a nonprofit organization that raises charitable donations with the aim of investing long-term debt or equity in business ventures.

The fund’s investments totaled US$ 368 million as of 2013. The Adolf H Lundin Charitable Foundation also provides risk capital investments in small and medium-sized business ventures in Africa. As of 2012, the foundation had capital commitments of US$ 12.8 million in the field of agriculture, financial inclusion and access to energy.

Source: B&FT
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