SME Finance - Building Bankable Businesses

3 Tips For Managing Your Small Business Loan

Congratulations, your loan application has finally been approved and you got the loan. In fact, the funds have already been disbursed to the designated account, so what next?

What steps would you take to ensure that your business gets the most value out of this loan and ensure that you don’t default? To help you answer these questions and make the most use of your loan I have outlined 3 tips that would help you manage your business loan effectively.

Read More: SMEs Vital To African Agriculture – African Development Bank

  1. Create A Loan Budget And Stick to It – Before you start spending that loan the first thing you should do is prepare a simple budget for the loan. Outline the expenses you want to use the loan for and how you can repay the loan. To help make this process easily try out the funds from the loan in a separate account from your business. After you’ve prepared your loan budget ensure that you stick to it. You may be tempted to use some of the loans for some urgent expenses or anything else other than their intended purpose, don’t.
  2. Avoid Taking New Loans – Sometimes, after you have taken a loan and it seems insufficient or you are unable to pay it off for whatever reason don’t try taking another loan to finance the repayment. Apart from the additional costs, you would likely incur, you are simply digging a debt grave for your business and the more you borrow to pay yet another debt the deeper it goes. If you find yourself running into trouble with repayments, you should be cutting back costs or looking for ways to increase sales.
  3. Prioritize Loan Repayment– As much as you’re focused on investing the loan wisely, plan for its repayment. You can automate it for ease of payment. Because apart from the late fees, a poor loan repayment record would have a bad effect on your business credit score and that may make it more difficult for you to get more loans next time you ask for it. You want to avoid that, so make your loan repayment a priority.

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FG inaugurates N75bn SMEs COVID-19 stimulus schemes

The Federal Government on Thursday flagged off two schemes to financially support about 1.7 million micro, small and medium enterprises across the country with N75bn.

At a briefing on the flag-off of the National MSME Survival Fund and the Guaranteed Off-take Stimulus Schemes under the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan, the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mariam Katagum, said the schemes would impact positively on businesses in the country.

Read More: Nigerian Banks Write Off N1.9 Trillion Impaired Loans In Past Four Years.

The Economic Sustainability Plan was approved by the Federal Executive Council on June 24, 2020, following its initiation by the Economic Sustainability Committee that was established by the President, Muhammadu Buhari, on March 30, 2020.

The committee, which is chaired by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, comprises of several ministers and the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation as well as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic globally, the Buhari administration has said it would not relent in its efforts towards improving the country’s healthcare infrastructure and economy, while creating more jobs for millions of Nigerians in different sectors, supporting small businesses, local production and manufacturing, as well as extending the social safety net for the most vulnerable in society, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

Speaking on the Buhari administration’s efforts to cushion the effects of the pandemic on Nigerians, the Vice President stated that improving healthcare infrastructure remains a major objective of the administration.

He said, “Out of the N500bn initial stimulus fund that is factored into the current budget, N126bn of it is going into healthcare.

In her address at the briefing, Katagum stated that in keeping to its promise to support businesses overcome the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Government was set to commence nationwide implementation of the two MSME initiatives.

Katagum said the N60bn MSME Survival Fund and the Payroll Support schemes would be rolled out first, adding that the N15bn Guaranteed Off-take Scheme would then follow.

She said, “Both schemes are at the core of the N2.3tn stimulus package, also known as the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan being implemented to help cushion the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is with a view to boosting the economy by saving existing jobs and creating new job opportunities.”

The minister said a 10-man committee, which she chairs, was inaugurated in August with membership from the private and public sectors including the Vice-Chairperson, Mrs Ibukun Awosika, Chairman of First Bank.

Katagum said the committee also had representatives of the National Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, adding that the team had developed a workable template for the execution of the programme.

She said, “The survival fund scheme is expected to commence immediately while the Guaranteed Off-take Scheme will follow as soon as the proper modalities are put in place to meet current realities.

The Director-General of Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN), Dr Dikko Umaru Radda, who thanked President Muhammadu Buhari on behalf of the MSMEs for the fund, said the Survival Fund was a welcome development to reduce the effect of COVID-19 on MSMEs.

The representative of the Organized Private Sector, who is also a Board of Trustees Member of the National Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME), Ubadigbo Okonkwo, said the survival fund was a timely stimulus package for MSMEs in Nigeria.

However, he expressed concern about the short duration and small size of the schemes and urged the federal government to implement follow-up MSME support programmes at the planned expiry of the two schemes.

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Development Bank of Nigeria Advocates Sustainable Banking for Nigerian MFBs

The Development Bank of Nigeria Plc (DBN), a premier development finance institution with a huge influence in the Micro Finance Banks (MFB) ecosystem, has set out to act as a catalyst in helping to raise awareness around sustainability initiatives as well as provide technical assistance for its PFIs.

Read More: Nigeria’s Debt Rises 8.3% To 31 Trillion Naira In 3 Months – DMO

To this end, the bank recently organized a webinar session themed, “Creating a Sustainability Community of Practice for Nigerian Microfinance Banks” for MFBs that are working with it as Participating Financial Institution (PFIs).

According to DBN’s MD/CEO, Tony Okpanachi represented by Chief Operating Officer, Bonaventure Okhaimo, “The initiative is focused on further deepening DBN’s efforts at increasing awareness on sustainability issues, and also positively influence its Participating Financial Institutions (PFIs) on Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).”

He explained that the goal is to create an MFB community for information sharing and learning on sustainability initiatives and the implementation of strategies for financial institutions in Nigeria.

According to him, “Currently, the overall awareness of sustainability and its transitions for the microfinance ecosystem has not been clearly articulated in Nigeria. This is because most MFBs regard lending as the most essential service to be rendered to end-borrowers. “This session is designed to enable DBN affiliated MFBs to have a more robust proposition about sustainability which will open them up to the myriad of advantages, including external funding, generation of deeper trust with stakeholders, and legitimization of their operations along the lines of Sustainability.”

While DBN is driving this initiative, it has also been recognized that the support of industry regulators will go a long way in facilitating the desired response from the financial institutions.

In this regards, the Special Adviser to the CBN Governor on Sustainability, Dr Aisha Mahmoud, while delivering her keynote address during the DBN session, stated that “Deliberations on emerging issues of sustainability are important for the financial ecosystem.”

She stressed that MFBs by the virtue of their mandate is already practising the social pillar of sustainability by lending to the underserved sectors of the economy, but there is a need to focus more on the environmental impact of their lending by looking into the activities and operations of their borrowers through a sustainability lens.”

She added that today’s successful businesses are those that integrate sustainability into their operations.

According to her “We cannot ignore the environmental pillar because it is as important as the social pillar. Due to our way of unsustainable consumption and production, we are constantly depleting natural capital. We need to shift our growth pathway from the current trajectory to the one that improves the quality of human life while living within the carrying capacity of the planet earth.

She further added that “Based on discussions with a few MFBs, organizations oftentimes think sustainability is an additional cost to the business, but we need a shift from that perception because sustainability is a win-win situation that connects people, planet, and the economy.

“Studies have demonstrated how businesses that integrate sustainability well, outperform those that do not, as it lowers the cost of capital, results in better operational performance, and positively influences the stock price”.

To help MFBs in this direction, DBN’s Sustainability Specialist, Lolade Awogbade, said, “the discussion in the community will provide MFBs with increased knowledge on internal and external sustainability strategies in implementing their initiatives.

“The internal strategies will be guided by Sustainable Development Goals that embraces strategies inclusive of waste management, energy, gender and diversity policies, and the likes. The external will be business strategies focused on social and developmental objectives such as women empowerment, poverty eradication, and financial inclusion.”

The Bank’s sustainability specialist also mentioned that investing in social and environmental sustainability initiatives will not only help finance companies in fulfilling their social mission but also differentiate them from competitors, give access to new market segments, access to new funding and improve their brand and corporate image.

Based on feedback from participants, DBN commits that it will roll out periodical activities in the coming months to keep the conversation going. This will be in the forms of webinars for idea sharing and knowledge management, as well as the exchange of materials and expertise on sustainability issues.

It is hoped that the lead being taken by the Development Bank of Nigeria in helping to promote the sustainability principles to MFBs will usher in a new consciousness on sustainability needs and how the Bank’s strategic partners can successfully incorporate this thinking into their business model.

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CBN Releases Guidelines For Agribusiness Loans

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has released procedures for Nigerian youths willing to benefit from its Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme (AADS).

According to the apex bank, the Programme is to engage a minimum of 370,000 youths in agricultural production across the country over the next three years in order to reduce unemployment among the youths in the country.

Read More: SMEs Vital To African Agriculture – African Development Bank

As it targets youths between ages 18 and 35 years, AADS is designed to increase agricultural production towards food security, job creation and economic diversification, the apex bank said.

The new guidelines show that the programme will focus on boosting production of two commodities in each state where the state has comparative strength.

In terms of mobilization and cluttering, the state government is to mobilize prospective young farmers with representation from all senatorial zones and provide agricultural land in contiguous locations in all senatorial zones. Minimum of 100 hectares per cluster and then, prospective entrepreneurs that meet the eligibility criteria will be grouped into clusters by commodity to be produced

In addition to this, the state government is to allocate 2-5 hectares of land per beneficiary while also providing access roads, water sources and other infrastructure that will enhance agricultural production on the land.

“States may charge a rental on land (Max. of N10,000 per ha) to defray the cost of land clearing and other infrastructure provided. Rental charges will be embedded in the Economics of Production (EoP) of the farmer,” according to the CBN.

In terms of financing, the apex bank has designated private finance initiatives (PFI) as its agents in disbursing the financing to the beneficiaries, which shall be in kind.

The guideline stipulates that the PFI purchase the inputs for on-selling to the beneficiaries, using CBN approved non-interest financing contract of Murabaha, Istisna’, etc at an all-inclusive rate of return of 9 per cent p.a.

For the financing of labour, the PFI shall use Service Ijarah or any other appropriate CBN approved contract for NIFIs with the same all-inclusive rate of return of 9 per cent.

“Financing tenor is 6 months for grains and broiler production (rice, maize, soybean etc); 18 months for cassava; 24 months for egg production and ruminants; 5 years for plantation crops etc.

“Average financing size of N250,000 per ha for arable crops; N500,000 per unit for livestock; and N1.5 million naira for plantation crops like cocoa, cashew and oil palm,” the guideline highlights.

On how to market produce after the cultivation, the apex bank said: “Anchors/Processors/Aggregators shall sign uptake agreement with Project Management Team (PMT), produce off-take shall be on cash and carry basis and contiguous nature of farms should reduce the logistics associated with aggregation.”

For eligible beneficiaries of the programme, CBN has pegged the age range between 18 and 35 years, adding that beneficiaries must sign an undertaking to abide by the terms of agreement of the Scheme.

Apart from AADS, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in its bid to ensure that agricultural businesses sustain their operations in the aftermath the COVID-19 pandemic, has also introduced other loan opportunities and fund interventions.

The Agri-Business/Small and Medium Enterprise Investment Scheme AGSMEIS Loan is an initiative to support the Federal Government’s efforts in the promotion of agricultural businesses and small/medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country, you can apply for the Loan with collateral for the AGSMEIS loan is been disbursed by NIRSAL Microfinance Bank and other Banks. Interested Nigerian engaged in Agriculture or other SME businesses can access up to N10 Million from the AGSMEIS Loan, at a single-digit interest rate of 9% per annum.

The Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP), is also an initiative of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for the agricultural sector, it is in line with its developmental function of the apex bank.

The loan is targeted at smallholder farmers engaged in the production of identified commodities across the country. The Farmers should be in groups/cooperative(s) of between 5 and 20 for ease of administration. The ABP is not solely for farmers, businesses can also apply to become the Anchor (private large-scale integrated processors) and Inputs Suppliers.

Nigeria’s Debt Rises 8.3% To 31 Trillion Naira In 3 Months – DMO

Nigeria’s total debt stock has risen to N31 trillion as of June 2020, from N28.6tn reported in March, the Debt Management Office, (DMO) has said.

According to the periodic data which it released recently, DMO said the public debt stock consist of those for the Federal Government, the 36 state governments and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Read More: Nigeria’s Unemployment Rate Jumps To 27.1%, Inflation Up 12%

The N31.009 trillion debt is about $85.897 billion compared to that of March which was N28.628tn was about $79.303bn, growing by N2.38tn or $6.59bn due to the $3.36bn Budget Support Loan from the International Monetary Fund, New Domestic Borrowing to finance the Revised 2020 Appropriation Act, the issuance of the N162.557 billion Sukuk, and Promissory Notes issued to settle Claims of Exporters.

The DMO expects the Public Debt Stock to grow as the balance of the New Domestic Borrowing is raised and expected disbursements are made by the World Bank, African Development Bank and the Islamic Development Bank which were arranged to finance the 2020 Budget.

Recall that the 2020 Appropriation Act had to be revised in the face of the adverse and severe impact of COVID-19 on Government’s revenues and increased expenditure needs on health and economic stimulus amongst others.

It said additional Promissory Notes are expected to be issued in the course of the year, this, and new borrowings by State Governments are also expected to increase the Public Debt Stock.

Experts who gave warnings during a one-day Webinar titled: ‘Are Chinese Infrastructure Loans Putting Nigeria on the Debt Trap Express,’ organized by the US – Nigeria Trade Council, has warned Nigeria strongly against the loans; arguing that the terms are hidden “debt traps” for the country.

In his presentation, the Managing Partner & CEO, Berkham Capital UK, Joseph Oyediran, kicked against the China infrastructure loans; arguing that Nigeria at the moment is clearly exhibiting the symptoms of a country that will default on payment.

According to Oyediran, the revenue streams for Nigeria to repay the loans within the specified period are not there; especially in the face of the impact of Covid-19 pandemic.

While stressing that with a debt profile put at about $65 billion, Nigeria was not looking healthy enough to repay the China loans, he described the loan as a debt trap for Nigeria, adding, that “the revenue source to pay back is just not there”.

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Kwara Offers 21,623 Micro Businesses Interest-Free Loans

About 21,623 petty traders in the state are expected to benefit from the state’s interest-free micro-finance loans under the Kwara State Social Investment Programme (KWASSIP).

The state governor, Alhaji AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has already approved the disbursement of the loans to the beneficiaries.

Read More: Trader Moni Beneficiaries Unwilling To Repay Loans, Says NSIP

Commissioner for Finance and Planning, Mrs Oyeyemi Olasumbo Florence, said the money released for the programme, which is just one of the many people-focus policies of the AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq administration, was meant to fund the safety net initiative targeted at the poorest of the poor, including the aged, the widow and others at the lowest wrung of the economy.

“This is to lift as many people as possible out of the poverty line,” she said, adding that at least N100m would be disbursed this week to roughly 20,000 transport workers in the state as “Òwó Ìsówó in form of soft loan that was designed to lessen the effects of the lockdown on local transporters.

In a statement signed by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr Rafiu Ajakaye, the state said the operations of the first phase of disbursement would last for five weeks.

The statement added that “The disbursement comes after months of careful enumeration of the potential beneficiaries of the scheme.”

The statement said the disbursement of the beneficiaries would cut across the 16 local government councils of the state.

It added, “The disbursement of funds to the beneficiaries of “Òwó Ìsówó begins today. We are looking at disbursing to 21,623 persons for this phase.

“Due to COVID-19 and the need to maintain social distancing, we will be communicating venues to beneficiaries as we get to each local government.

“Owo Isowo is

Starting A Business: Should You Start With a Loan?

When starting a business, an entrepreneur is often faced with so many questions that demand answers. One of those questions centres on how the business should be financed. Should you borrow money to start a business?

This question may seem simple at first but to be able to give the best answer for your business, you have to consider the advantages and disadvantages first. So to help guide you to the best answer to this question for your business, we have highlighted some of the pros and cons of starting a small business with a loan.

Read More: 6 Financial Facts Every Entrepreneur Should Know

Advantages of starting a business with a loan

  • Covers Startup Costs – One of the biggest reasons for getting a business loan when starting a business is to be able to cover the huge costs associated with it. Personal funds are rarely enough, especially as unbudgeted expenses may arise hence starting a business loan can be instrumental in covering these expenses that the business incurs at startup.
  • Readily Available Capital – Beyond the initial expenses, as a new business, it takes time to turn a profit but all the while your expenses don’t disappear till you can pay for them, they keep increasing regardless. Statistics show that it is at this critical stage that many businesses die due to under-capitalization. Having a business loan to work with at this critical stage of your business is essential to your survival. It provides your business with readily available capital to make a pivot, and cover your operating costs when you don’t have sufficient cash flow to keep your business afloat.

Disadvantages of starting a business with a loan

  • Personal Liability – Most businesses that start with a loan are often required to provide personal guarantees before they can access the loan. While this is important to de-risk the bank’s investment it implies that once your business defaults, you as a business owner would bear personal liability for the loan and your personal assets may be taken to pay off the loan.
  • Debt Pressure – Loans you have taken at the start of a new business have a tendency to put untold pressure on you as the decision-maker for the business. Banks and other lending institutions usually don’t care if your business has turned a profit before you’re required to start your loan repayment. This can be terrible for your business because your loan investment didn’t have enough time to grow your business as intended before you have to pull them out to repay your loan. This can have fatal effects on your business.
  • Additional Costs – loans are not given for free, if you decide to take up a loan to start your business you would have incurred additional business costs in interest rates, loan processing fees etc. While this may not be deadly, additional costs like these would lower your profitability and increase the expensive costs of running

Now that you have the top pros and cons for starting a business with a loan what do you think? Is it a good idea to start your business with a loan?

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CBN Releases Credit Guidelines For 2020-2021

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in 2020/2021 has continued to conduct a monetary policy anchored on the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) of the Federal Government, with the objective of achieving price and financial stability.

Read More: CBN Authorises PSBs Forex Sale

In consonance with the MTEF, the CBN is able to anchor expectations, deliver time-consistent policies and react to temporary shocks including those associated with frequent changes in fiscal policy. The 2020/2021 Monetary, Credit, Foreign Trade and Exchange Policy Guidelines reviews circulars issued from the 2018/2019 edition till end December 2019 to cover the period January 2020 to December 2021.

This document outlines the monetary, credit, foreign trade and exchange policy guidelines applicable to banks and other financial institutions supervised by the CBN in 2020/2021. On account of new developments in the domestic and global economies in the period, the guidelines may be fine-tuned by the CBN without prior notice. Such amendments shall be communicated to the relevant institutions/stakeholders in supplementary circulars.

The document is organized in Five Sections. Section One is the introduction. In Section Two, developments in the global and domestic economies in 2019 are reviewed to provide a background to the policy measures in 2020/2021. The monetary and credit measures are enumerated in Section Three. In Section Four, the applicable foreign trade and exchange policy measures are presented. Lastly, Section Five discusses consumer protection issues. The annexures to the guidelines contain prudential guidelines, relevant reporting formats and referenced circulars.

You can access this document and other relevant information at our resource centre.

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5 Digital Lending Platforms for SMEs in Nigeria

The rise of fintech in Nigeria over the past few years has unlocked a new means of lending for many small businesses in Nigeria. It has given SMEs more lending options that are quicker and more convenient to relate to traditional lending institutions. One additional benefit of accessing business loans through these online lending platforms is that they don’t require businesses to provide collateral before they can offer them finance. And yet they provide loans at competitive rates with traditional financing institutions. No wonder they are a popular choice these days.

Read More: Central Bank Governor To Host CEOs Of Multinational Companies Over Export Market

Let’s explore some of the top 5 digital lending platforms for small businesses in Nigeria.

  1. RenMoney– RenMoney is one of the leading online lending platforms in Nigeria. Small businesses can access up to N4 million in loans at an interest rate of 2.8% per month. You can access a RenMoney loan for your business within 24 hours without providing collateral or guarantor. To access this loan simply click
  2. Lydia– Lidya like RenMoney is a digital platform that provides loans exclusively to businesses. Small and medium-sized businesses can access unsecured loans between N150,000 and N5 million through the Lydia platform. To access an SME loan through the Lydia platform click
  1. Carbon– Carbon formerly called Paylater is an online lending platform that offers access to finance for small businesses in Nigeria. Carbon provides easy access to loans for small businesses in Nigeria to help cover unexpected expenses or urgent cash needs without any collateral. SMEs can access up to N20 million in loans through Carbon within 48 hours at an interest rate ranging between 5 – 15%. To access Carbon loans for your SME click
  2. Branch– Branch provides access to short term loans for small and micro-businesses. SMEs can access up to N200,000 at a monthly interest rate from 15% – 34% without collateral. To access Branch loan simply click
  3. Grofin– Grofin provides small and medium Enterprises in Education, Healthcare, Agri-Processing, Manufacturing, or Key Services (Energy/ Waste / Water / Recycling) with medium-term loans to finance their projects. Unlike the other platforms we’ve listed to access Grofin loans SMEs are required to partly secure the loan. Plus personal guarantees of the entrepreneur(s) are required. However, businesses can access loans between US$100,000 and US$1.5 million for a duration of 3-8 years with an interest rate of up to 15% per annum. To access Grofin loan click

If you need guidance and advice in finding the purpose of your business, visit the SMELAB.

SMEs Vital to African Agriculture – African Development Bank

A panel of some of Africa’s most promising small and medium enterprise (SME) Agripreneurs gathered online to call for more selective investment, accelerated business acquisitions and increased cooperation to help Africa feed itself and the world.

The African Development Bank ( organized the virtual session; Integrating African Food Systems through the Lens of SME Champions, as a side-event ahead of Africa’s largest agriculture conference – the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) – was held online for the first time, from 8-11 September.

Read More: Fitch Ratings Fault CBN CRR Policy

Webinar moderator Atsuko Toda, Bank Director for agricultural finance and rural development, said the panel members, were selected because they are using innovative solutions, tailored their business models, have a proven track record, and shown to have an impact on food systems.

“We see the importance of the roles that you play, the risks you take and the Bank wants to give you more visibility so that policymakers can understand the challenges of what you are facing and help SME Champions to grow,” Toda said.

The group of African “SME Champions” –  heads of SMEs across the continent’s food system production, processing, logistics, agricultural digitization and cold storage chain solutions sub-sectors, set the scene for webinar attendees, by describing the challenges and opportunities they face in trying to meet Africa’s food systems demands. Some said policy, programs and financing in Africa are geared toward larger organizations and businesses – and that there is still too heavy a focus on agricultural imports to Africa.

Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu, head of Nigeria-based ColdHubs, says his solar power, cold storage facility company helps farmers’ produce stay fresher, longer, reducing the need to rush the product to market at less competitive prices. ColdHubs says it invested in the storage infrastructure so that farmers could benefit from the service at a reasonable price.

“We are taking the risk out of ownership of huge cold rooms from smallholder farmers because we design, operate and maintain these cold rooms. We offer a pay-as-you-use service model,” said Ikegwounu.

In spite of agriculture being an acknowledged leading growth driver for Africa, the potential of the sector’s contribution to growth and development has been underexploited mainly due to a variety of challenges, including the widening technology divide, weak infrastructure and declining technical capacity.

These challenges have been exacerbated by weak input and output marketing systems and services, slow progress in regional integration, land access and rights issues, limited access to affordable credit, challenging governance issues in some countries, conflicts, effects of climate change, and the scourge of HIV/AIDS and other diseases. Green growth is critical to Africa because of the fragility of the continent’s natural environment. Further, Africa’s dependence on agriculture is stretching its ecological carrying capacity. Africa’s agriculture, therefore, needs a transformation to green agricultural practices that combine intensification of land productivity with environmental sustainability.

If you need guidance and advice in finding the purpose of your business, visit the SMELAB.

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