This investment was made when British International Investment was named CDC Group.
CDC first backed Ecom in 2014, and our new investment will allow Ecom to continue improving farmers’ livelihoods by providing them with access to overseas markets, improving farming practices and enhancing sustainable farming through training and access to technology.
Our loan (part of a development finance institution (DFI) consortium with Dutch DFI, FMO, and German DFI, DEG) will support ECOM with investments in capex, farmer initiatives and permanent working capital, which will support farmers in accessing markets overseas, improve yields/quality and farm more sustainably through training, inputs and technology.
While the company operates globally, CDC’s capital will be earmarked for Africa. The top five countries with the largest number of farmers sourced from are Kenya, Ghana, Uganda, Cote d’Ivoire and Ethiopia.
In 2019, ECOM sourced from c. 680,000 farmers in Africa. Globally, there are more than 800,000 farmers in ECOM’s supply chain.
The impact will occur over 7 years (loan tenor).
To help us direct our investments, we use a tool called the Development Impact Grid. The Grid scores every investment we plan out of a score of four, based on two factors: the difficulty of investing in the country and whether investment in that sector will lead to jobs.
Evidence: Given the funding structure at Group level, CDC cannot attribute all impact outcomes to our capital.
The traditional agricultural trading companies in some of Africa’s poorer countries – Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania and Nigeria – buy goods at the port. There is a heavy reliance on middlemen and trading is often opportunistic, leaving smallholders short-changed.
Ecom’s business model spans direct relationships with smallholder farmers, through to selling direct to large multinational buyers. In contrast to traditional models, the company buys at the farm gate, helping to improve farmer incomes.
It also invests in rural logistics and processing assets such as buying stations, coffee mills, cleaning facilities and warehouses, supporting the local supply chain.
Environmental and social aspects
We are working closely with Ecom and other lenders to ensure that the company's relationships with farmers and cooperatives deliver benefits to livelihoods, as well as good labour practices in its supply chains.
The initiative helps farmers improve production practices, enhance yields, and improve access to inputs and certification programmes such as Rainforest Alliance, Utz, Organic and Fair Trade.
Since 2012, we’ve only invested in Africa and South Asia. Investments outside these regions are from our pre-2012 portfolio.
We have seven priority sectors. However, we continue to invest outside these sectors, largely in the most challenging regions, as new investment supporting any sector helps to underpin the private sector, and create jobs and livelihoods for people.
- Food and agriculture
- Investment type
We provide capital in three broad ways: direct equity, debt, and intermediated equity (principally through investment funds).
- Direct Debt
- Start date
For direct investments, this is the date British International Investment committed capital to the business or project.
For funds, this is the date that British International Investment committed capital to the fund.
For underlying fund investments, this is the date that the fund invested capital into the business.e
- December 2014
For direct investments, this is the total amount that British International Investment has committed to the business or project (it may be a combination of equity and debt).
For funds, this is the total amount that British International Investment has committed to the fund.
This is the investee company’s place of incorporation; or a fund’s jurisdiction.