The EIB and the African Development Bank Group (AfDB), represented by Isabelle Van Grunderbeeck, regional representative of the EIB for West Africa and Adalbert Nshimyumuremyi, resident representative of the AfDB in Senegal, have signed financing agreements for an integrated rice production project managed by the Compagnie Agricole de Saint-Louis du Sénégal (CASL) totalling EUR 31.4m, i.e. EUR 15.7m from each institution. This project will have a major socioeconomic impact in Senegal, aiding local development, creating jobs and contributing to self-sufficiency in rice production.

Rice is a staple food in Senegal, which is one of largest consumers of rice per capita in the world. In line with the priority the Senegalese Government has given to rice production as outlined in the “National Rice Self-Sufficiency Programme”, the project aims to promote food security in the country by producing white rice for the domestic market locally. The project will use 4 000 ha of land in the delta of the Senegal River, where irrigated cultivation will produce 60 000 tonnes of paddy rice per year, including 9 000 tonnes from local farmers. It will make it possible to store 30 000 tonnes of paddy rice, and to process and sell 40 000 tonnes of white rice per year.

The project will contribute to the attainment of three of the African Development Bank's "High 5” priorities*, namely: “Feed Africa, industrialise Africa and improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.” Adalbert Nshimyumuremyi indicated that this was an innovative project with a major demonstration effect for the sub-region: “The signing of today's financing agreements shows our bank's commitment to implementing its strategy to transform agriculture in Africa**. We will continue to support the private sector and agribusiness in Africa with a view to meeting the objectives of reducing poverty, cutting imports and promoting the creation of added value locally,” he said.

The project also comes under the European Union and EIB action plan for the region. EIB regional representative for West Africa Isabelle Van Grunderbeeck said: “This is an important agreement for Senegalese agriculture, as it will contribute to the development of the private sector, food security and job creation. The project will also have a major economic and social impact, giving local farmers access to water infrastructure and other facilities, thereby helping to reduce rural poverty.”

CASL CEO Laurent Nicolas voiced his satisfaction with the agreement, saying: “We are pleased to receive the support of the AfDB and EIB on this project as it will enable us to meet our objective of engaging in local production and processing good quality white rice with high nutritional value for Senegal. We are delighted and committed to helping the country achieve self-sufficiency in rice production, create jobs, and help to improve the lives of people in the surrounding communities.”

This project will bring significant benefits for Senegal: it will enable rice production to be increased and food imports to be reduced, positively affecting the country's balance of payments and creating jobs. It will also provide local farmers with access to water via an irrigation network and technical assistance for development.

The lenders received legal advice from the Paris office of law firm Hogan Lovells and technical advice from Mott MacDonald (London).

* The “High 5” priorities are: light up and power Africa, feed Africa, industrialise Africa, integrate Africa and improve the quality of life for the people of Africa. These areas of priority action are crucial for transforming the lives of the people of Africa and are therefore in line with the United Nations sustainable development goals (SDGs) programme.

** Feed Africa: Strategy for agricultural transformation in Africa 2016-2025