Developing the agricultural sector - Evaluation of concept notes received in response to a call for funding

Events & Cooperation, MGF projects

Developing the agricultural sector - Evaluation of concept notes received in response to a call for funding

Cotonou, Benin, November 17th to 25th, 2023. The international and inter-institutional Committee of Experts is meeting to evaluate 426 submissions received under the call for concept notes for the "Competitive Matching Grant Fund" by the "Business Support Facility for Resilient Agricultural Value Chains" (ABF4VC).

The call under the Competitive Matching Grant Fund (MGF) covered the cocoa, maize, and livestock (cattle, sheep and goats) value chains, and was open from September 18 to November 10, 2023. The MGF supports the modernization of value chains for competitiveness and resilience with regard to climate change and markets. It systematically combines competition-based complementary fund allocation with partner strategies and resources, non-financial business development services and capacity building for project implementation. Selected projects will support the improvement of food security, incomes, quality job creation, climate change mitigation, competitiveness and sustainability of the value chains mentioned in the member states of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS). Multi-stakeholder projects will in most cases be implemented by a consortium comprising, for example, a producer organization, private-sector companies, and public-sector players.

An example of such a multi-stakeholder project would be the diversification of income from the cocoa value chain through the use of cocoa pods. This is important because irregular rainfall hinders the growth of cocoa beans. Cocoa pods could be transformed into briquettes by an organization of male and female cocoa producers. ABF will advise the organization on the development of business plans and the effective organization of technical and entrepreneurial training for their members, and of course will channel the MGF's monetary contribution provided by the European Union to the project. These briquettes replace unsustainable firewood, which is good for the ecology and the climate.

The call for applications was announced on this website (, where all information on the call was published, via email, social media, OACPS networks and other websites. Every day during this 8-week period, between 160 and 1,300 people visited the ABF website to obtain information and download the application documents and the readiness programme documents for their application. In all, over 20,000 downloads were recorded.
After reviewing the submissions, 426 concept notes were registered by 42 OACPS member states covering the three regions - Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific.  
It is now up to the committee of 17 experts – from 14 OACPS member states – to evaluate all the submissions. The best ones will be financed and implemented. To this end, a workshop is being held from November 17th to 24th at the Hotel Azalai in Cotonou, Benin. Opening remarks were held on 17th November by representatives of the EU and OACPS – Mrs. Sophie Primot and Mr. Junior Lodge respectively – as well as ABF’s project leader Magnus Schmid.  
To guarantee transparency and competitiveness in the selection process for MGF partners, the Expert Committee is set up by value chain for techno-economic evaluation and decision-making on concept notes and full proposals following a standardized approach. A scoring grid will be provided to each committee member for evaluation, and each concept note will be assessed by 3 members. The experts come from private entities, development cooperation organizations, governmental and non-governmental organizations, and research institutions to offer diverse perspectives and skills to support a fair, equitable and transparent selection process.  Gender balance and geographical coverage guided the choice of experts from various regions of Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific.

Launched in March 2023, ABF4VC is mandated by the EU and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by 2 projects of Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH: Agri-Business Facility for Africa (ABF) and Market-Oriented Value Chains for Jobs & Growth in the ECOWAS Region (MOVE). The aim is to develop and enhance the capacities of actors along agricultural value chains in member states of OACPS to attract finance and investment, in particular towards low-emission and climate resilient practices and value chains.

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