USAID Plans $500,000 Grant Each To Eligible Business Operators In W/Africa 

Yemisi Izuora 

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), has disclosed that request for Expressions of Interest in private sector grants from the Trade Hub’s COVID-19 Rapid Response in Cabo Verde co-investment programme is underway.

 The USAID West Africa Trade and Investment Hub said it has  issued a solicitation for Expressions of Interest in grants for eligible private sector entities disbursed through the Trade Hub’s COVID-19 Rapid Response in Cabo Verde co-investment programme.

The Expressions of Interest must be submitted by 31 March 2021; however, each submission is reviewed on a rolling basis as they are received.

The grants will be between $100,000 and $500,000 and sourced from the $1.5 million Economic Support Funds (ESF) the US government designated earlier for assistance to Cabo Verde.

In Cabo Verde, the pandemic has severely affected the economy, which is heavily dependent on tourism and migrant remittances that contribute 25 per cent and 11.7 per cent  respectively to the country’s GDP.

Tourism alone is estimated to account for close to 40 per cent  of total job creation in Cabo Verde. With the current collapse of international tourism, Cabo Verde is bracing for a sharp economic contraction that is forecasted to reach 13 per cent  of GDP, with unemployment rates hovering around 20 per cent.

The large decline in tourism revenues will severely affect the ability of thousands of SMEs to operate, causing acute liquidity shortages, job losses, and reduced financial sector confidence in credit and financial services targeting SMEs.

The USAID-funded Trade Hub activity is a five-year trade and investment facilitation intervention that seeks to improve private sector productivity, profitability, and competitiveness in West Africa.

By co-investing with the private sector and other organisations through its grant fund, the Trade Hub will encourage additional private sector investment and growth in strategic sectors including but not limited to agriculture, services, water/sanitation,  renewable energy, and light manufacturing.

The Trade Hub will co-invest a total of $1.08 million with the Cabo Verde private sector, allocating remaining funds for technical assistance.

Applicants must propose activities that mitigate the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and provide co-investment funds in a ratio of at least 1:1 to the amount of the grant requested.

Co-investments may target one of the following sectors: finance and investment, tourism, information technology, agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture, manufacturing, transportation, or renewable energy.

Expressions of Interest will be reviewed on a rolling basis as they are received but must be submitted by March 31, 2021.

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