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The Agricultural Commodity Transformation Fund (ACT)
Putting SMEs at the heart of transforming global agriculture

ACT is a US$100 million impact fund that gives private sector institutions the opportunity to invest in agribusinesses that can drive prosperity in developing countries.

It focusses on enabling viable small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to create greater economic opportunity in the communities around them, while strengthening the climate resilience of their value chains and growing the incomes of the smallholder farmers they work with. Using the nexus between SMEs and smallholders, ACT will localize the development to alleviate poverty.

Now is the time to ACT

SMEs are a crucial bridge between smallholders in some of the poorest regions of the world and global markets. They connect them to demand and process their crops into  value added products, reducing the dependence many developing countries have on raw commodity exports. In short, with the right support, agribusiness SMEs help to build more stable and prosperous economies using an innovative and resilient commodity value chains-based approach.

ACT will target SMEs in the agricultural sector. These businesses are trapped into what is knows as "missing middle" as they struggle to access financing that would enable them to expand their businesses and increase the prosperity of the smallholders they work with. Investing in SMEs in the agricultural sector is, therefore, essential to spur productivity, increased incomes, and livelihoods and more importantly to create jobs, in particular for the youth and women. Today’s young generation is the largest ever - estimated at 1.2 billion. Majority of those youths live in rural areas where creation of job is perhaps the most important agenda of the humanity now. In Africa alone, 10 to 12 million young people enter the labour market every year. If they are gainfully engaged, they don't need to migrate. ACT is designed to unlock that local potentials using cheaper and de-risked options of finance.      ACT will also provide the capital and technical assistance required for SMEs to create equitable low-carbon supply chains that deliver income and climate resilience at scale.

A new approach to SME financing

The CFC has more than three decades of experience financing commodity value chains, funded primarily by our 101 Member States. In 2012 we pivoted to impact investing and have brought together about one billion  US$  of investment including counterparty contributions.

ACT has been formed to give private sector institutions the opportunity to invest in the huge untapped potential of agribusiness SMEs, linking smallholders to international markets as shown in the diagram below. The fund will benefit from our stability as an intergovernmental institution with wider connectivity across UN and other financial ecosystem.  

ACT will invest in established SMEs with revenues of more than US$1 million, primarily in the form of working capital, trade finance and capex loans, as well as smaller amounts of quasi-equity. Our aim is to balance impact and return for investors, by leaning on our world class in-house impact investment and Technical Assistance teams, and by backing the fund financially.

US$20 million
CFC contribution in first loss capital
Access to US$ 10 million 
Technical Assistance Facility
A deal flow of more than 500 applications
for finance each year

ACT will be led by two experienced fund managers who are adept at identifying viable opportunities, embedding impact and reducing risk. They will also be supported by a team with broad and deep range of expertise and knowledge within the CFC.

Michael van den Berg – ACT Investment Director

Michael has two decades of impact investing and financial management experience with a focus on mobilising, managing and deploying funds in food and agriculture across Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Connect with Michael on LinkedIn

Fatima-Zohra Yaagoub – ACT Impact Manager

Zohra is an expert in impact quantification, measurement and development finance. She has over a decade of experience working on global development issues and impact in agriculture and beyond.

Connect with Zohra on LinkedIn

Generating sustainable impact

We have a track record of successfully generating positive impact where it is needed most. Since focussing on impact investing we have provided loans with a total value of US$52 million to agribusinesses, improving the lives of 415,000 people in countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Our TA team currently manages TA facilities worth US$14 million for several leading agriculture focussed impact funds, providing expert support on a range of projects from piloting climate smart financing mechanisms to implementing full scale outgrower schemes.

All our work contributes to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and ACT will enable us to do more, by driving profitability, enhancing incomes and strengthening economic and climate resilience.

Our key aims for ACT include:

  • Providing US$100 million in SME supply chain finance
  • Positively impacting one million people, more than 50% of them women
  • Generating US$290 million additional income for beneficiaries
  • Allocating 20% of the portfolio to agroforestry for carbon sequestration

Neither the Common Fund for Commodities nor any of its Member Countries, nor associated companies make any representation or warranty as to the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in the ACT Fund Placement Documents and nothing contained in the Placement Documents is, or should be relied upon as a promise or forecast as to the future. Any prospective investor should rely solely on its own due diligence, judgement and business analysis in evaluating subscription to Participations in ACT Fund.

The Placement Documents do not constitute an offer to sell, or the solicitation of an offer to buy Participations in any jurisdiction neither by any person to whom it is unlawful to make such offer or solicitation in such jurisdiction.

Nothing in this document may be considered to constitute legal or tax advice and each prospective investor should consult with their own legal counsel and advisors as to all matters concerning an investment in the Participations. Each investor must rely on its own evaluation of the investment and the terms of the offering, including the merits and risks involved, in making an investment decision with respect to the Participations.

Nothing in this document constitutes a waiver of immunity with regard to the assets of the CFC and the assets of Member Countries held by the CFC as stipulated in the Agreement Establishing the CFC. Therefore, no claims can, inter alia, be made to the Share Capital of the CFC, including promissory notes of the CFC, or against any Member States of the CFC, or against the provident fund moneys, if any, held by the CFC for its staff members, or against any other resources held by the CFC not explicitly allocated to ACT Fund, by any party nor for any reason on the basis of, or in connection with the Placement Documents.

Neither the ACT Fund nor the Participations have been registered in The Netherlands, The European Union or in any other jurisdiction. Specifically, any (future) offer of Participations would be exempt from the Netherlands Financial Supervision Act (Wet op het Financieel Toezicht, Wft) and would accordingly not be subject to supervision by the Netherlands Financial Supervising Authority (Stichting Autoriteit Financiële Markten, AFM).