British International Investment, AFEX Sign $26.5 Million Agricultural Deal

British International Investment (BII), the UK’s development finance institution (DFI) and impact investor announced a US$26.5 million commitment to AFEX, Africa’s leading commodities platform, which currently operates over 200 warehouses in Nigeria, Kenya, and Uganda and serves over 450,000 farmers.

The investment will support structural improvements in Africa’s agricultural industry, which will significantly benefit smallholder farmers and lead to improvements in food security.

The signing of BII and AFEX’s new partnership was attended by British Deputy High Commissioner in Lagos Jonny Baxter, BII Chief Executive Officer Nick O’Donohoe, and AFEX Group CEO Ayodeji Balogun.   

AFEX Group CEO, Ayodeji Balogun said that this investment from British International Investment is a landmark moment in the mission to revolutionize agriculture and elevate food security across Africa.

BII’s investment will be used to build 20 modern warehouses in strategic locations in Nigeria, Kenya, and Uganda. Its capital will also scale warehouse technology and next-generation software that captures post-harvest pricing. Smart storage solutions have the potential to preserve the lifespan of harvested crops, thus increasing the volume of food available.

BII Chief Executive Officer, Nick O’Donohoe said that it is high time to back technology-driven companies like AFEX because they help reduce import costs by supporting smallholder farmers to increase local food production, while also boosting their incomes.

British International Investment
British Deputy High Commissioner in Lagos, Jonny Baxter, Chris Chijiutomi, Managing Director and Head of Africa BII, Nick O’Donohoe; Chief Executive Officer – British International Investment, Ayodeji Balogun; Chief Executive Officer – AFEX, Benson Adenuga; Head of Office and Coverage Director, Nigeria and Mobolaji Adeoye; Chairman AFEX

Citing that based on the World Bank estimates, Africa’s food import bill has reached c.US$30 billion in recent decades.

The additional warehouses will provide 230,000 MT of storage capacity, enabling up to 200,000 more farmers to access low-cost storage and maximize sales from crop harvests, potentially helping increase farmer incomes by more than 200 percent. Supporting smallholder farmers to achieve a fair wage is vital to ensure they remain in operation, producing more and higher quality crops for local consumption.

According to AFEX Group CEO Ayodeji Balogun, directing fresh capital toward the development of technologically advanced warehouses and critical facilities will significantly enhance market access and income potential for smallholder farmers.

“In alignment with UN SDGs, our mission is to enable Africa to feed itself efficiently and sustainably. Today’s investment doesn’t just propel AFEX’s growth, it forges a more secure and prosperous future for an entire continent,” said CEO Balogun.

This investment will contribute to the United Nations’ sustainable development goal of Zero Hunger (SDG2), Decent Work and Economic Growth (SDG8) and Responsible Consumption and Production (SDG12).

British International Investment

Agriculture in Nigeria, Kenya, and Uganda accounts for a quarter of GDP and employs 70 percent of their populations – 80 percent of whom are smallholder and subsistence farmers.

Currently, farmers face a difficult financial outlook due to macroeconomic uncertainty, limited market access, and poor reliability of sales from crop harvests. Yields have fallen, and farmers’ incomes are increasingly affected by price hikes of agricultural inputs and extreme weather events.

British International Investment’s capital will also be used to develop a soybean processing plant in Ibadan, the third-largest city by population in Nigeria, and a drying facility in Uganda. The construction of the storage facilities and soy processing facilities will generate over 700 temporary jobs and more than 80 permanent roles.

A move was lauded by the British Deputy High Commissioner in Lagos, Jonny Baxter who remarked on how proud he is of British International Investment’s support which will enhance agricultural productivity and bolster food security in Nigeria.

Mr. Baxter Jonny further added that the agricultural sector stands as a vital pillar of Nigeria’s economy, playing a significant role in job creation and investment potential.

“I commend the British International Investment for the provision of early-stage funding to AFEX, and I am delighted to see the company grow with such success. We look forward to continuing to support Nigeria’s agriculture sector and the opportunities this provides for its economic growth,” he said.

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