About Grow Africa

Who we are

The Grow Africa Partnership was founded jointly by the African Union (AU), The New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and the World Economic Forum in 2011. Grow Africa works to increase private sector investment in agriculture, and accelerate the execution and impact of investment commitments. The aim is to enable countries to realise the potential of the agriculture sector for economic growth and job creation, particularly among farmers, women and youth. Grow Africa brokers collaboration between governments, international and domestic agriculture companies, and smallholder farmers in order to lower the risk and cost of investing in agriculture, and improve the speed of return to all stakeholders.

Grow Africa is:

  • an African-owned, country-led, market-based and inclusive platform for cross-sector collaboration,
  • to increase inclusive and responsible investment in to African agriculture,
  • and thereby generate agriculture-driven economic growth that contributes to reducing poverty and hunger.


Grow Africa consists of a partnership platform, network, and secretariat.

Partnership Platform:

The Grow Africa Partnership comprises over 200 companies and governments in 12 countries. These companies have made formal commitments with the government in the respective country to invest in agriculture. Ten of these countries are part of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, a partnership in which stakeholders – public and private sectors, and donors - commit to specific policy reforms and investments, outlined in Cooperation Frameworks that accelerate implementation of African country food security strategies.


The Partnership is supported by a network of knowledge partners and topic specialists.


Grow Africa is supported by a Secretariat which during 2012-2015 has been designed and incubated by the World Economic Forum in Geneva, Switzerland. During 2015 the Secretariat will move to Johannesburg, South Africa and be hosted by the NEPAD Agency.


What we do

Grow Africa has supported the implementation of US $1.5 billion of investment into African agriculture from companies that have committed over US $10 billion in investments through Letters of Intent to invest. In all countries except Kenya and Rwanda, these Letters of Intent are part of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition

A Letter of Intent (LOI) is a voluntary document signed by a private sector actor outlining a commitment to invest in agriculture. LOIs are not binding contracts to invest.

Critical characteristics of LOI s include: 

  • alignment with host country CAADP Framework strategies; 
  • measurable investment targets, including a dollar figure to be invested and a number of smallholders to be reached, either directly or indirectly;
  • development impacts alongside business bottom line impacts;
  • a commitment to socially responsible investment;
  • commitment to the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition and Grow Africa processes;

Public summaries of each LOI are available in relevant Cooperation Frameworks.

Grow Africa:

  • Drives Investment Commitments: Works with international and domestic private sector investors - mostly agri-business companies - to implement committed investments totalling US $10 billion from over 200 companies.
  • Supports Improvements in the Enabling Environment: Works with national governments in order to identify and address weaknesses in the enabling environment that must be overcome to attract private-sector investment that leads to inclusive economic growth.
  • Addresses Systemic Issues: Identifies pan-African systemic constraints to implementing private sector investments and convenes Working Groups to develop solutions.
  • Shares Best Practice: Facilitates best practice sharing through a variety of channels including communities of practice and an annual investment forum.

Grow Africa’s approach catalyses multi-stakeholder collaboration, through activities that deliver the following outcomes:

  • Country transformation: Helping country partners establish the elements for unlocking transformative investment.
  • Specific Investments: Mobilising and supporting partners to advance on-the-ground investments that generate shared value.
  • Committed partners: Catalysing collaboration and elevating accountability between partners committed to African agriculture.
  • Knowledge: Supporting partners across Africa overcome constraints to investment through innovation, learning and tools.

Grow Africa’s work particularly focuses on helping smallholders and domestic companies succeed commercially. Smallholders dominate African production, and increasing their viability is central to both economic and development outcomes. Domestic companies are the keystone of inclusive value chains, offering vehicles for value addition, job creation, and smallholder aggregation.

In consultation with its key stakeholders, Grow Africa established four broad goals that guide the allocation of the Secretariat’s resources. Accelerate the pace of implementation and return on committed investments

  • Develop and support multi-stakeholder platforms for collaboration and for scaling agricultural value chains
  • Incubate promising business models for responsible agricultural investments
  • Co-develop and promote innovative solutions to systemic issues hindering responsible agricultural investments

We measure the success of investment commitments generated through Grow Africa against:

  • Quantity of actual investment expenditure
  • Number of jobs created
  • Number of smallholders with increased incomes

Grow Africa generates investment to achieve the goals of Africa’s plan for agriculture - the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP).


Where we work

The Grow Africa Partnership encompasses the following countries:



Grow Africa is an autonomous entity, which will transition from being hosted by the World Economic Forum to be hosted by the NEPAD Agency and governed by a multi-stakeholder Steering Committee.

Additionally, Grow Africa’s priorities are guided by a Leadership Council, an informal group of leaders committed to realizing the investment commitments pledged by the private sector, governments and development partners within the New Alliance and Grow Africa. It consists of high-level representatives from African governments, development partners, the African and multi-national private sector companies, civil society, and farmers’ organizations that monitor, support and advance progress. Two co-conveners lead the Leadership Council. These are:

The Leadership Council has met bi-annually since its formation. Starting in 2015, it will have one official meeting per year. The co-conveners will publicly release a joint statement after each meeting.


Grow Africa is supported by grants from the following donors:



Private Sector Partners

Grow Africa welcomes companies which demonstrate a commitment to agricultural transformation in Africa to join the platform. Companies can join by signing Letters of Intent (LOIs) to invest, which signal a company’s commitment to responsible, inclusive and sustainable agricultural investment in Africa.

Main Characteristics of a Letter of Intent:

  • Addressed to the government of the country in which the investment is planned to take place
  • Not a binding contract to invest
  • Confidential between the company, the receiving government and Grow Africa
  • Represented in the public domain through an agreed and approved public summary of the investment project

Grow Africa’s focus is to support the private sector in a collaborative approach to do business and ensure that the commitments outlined in the LOIs can be converted into real investments on the ground in each country.

Grow Africa promotes the Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems which have been agreed through a multi-stakeholder consultation process by the Committee on World Food Security.


Knowledge Partners

Grow Africa is supported by the following knowledge partners:

  • AT Kearney provides generous pro-bono assistance to Grow Africa’s work in developing inclusive value chains as well as providing strategic support for the transition of the Grow Africa Secretariat to the NEPAD Agency.
  • Rabobank provides generous pro-bono assistance to Grow Africa’s work on value chain financing, and co-chairs the Grow Africa Finance Working Group
  • IDH the Sustainable Trade Initiative, provides generous assistance to Grow Africa’s work on sustainable cassava value chains and implementation of specific inclusive investments, and co-chairs the Smallholder Working Group. IDH is supported by funding from the Dutch, Danish and Swiss governments.