Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF): Mid-term review 2008-2015, fund manager's response and management response
Summary of publication
The Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) is a financing mechanism designed to stimulate innovative investment by African entrepreneurs in order to create jobs, increase the incomes of rural households and make markets work better for the poor. Its focus is on agriculture and related rural services. Australia has contributed $33 million, making it the third largest donor after the UK and Sweden. The AECF works through eight funding windows that each have a different sectoral/geographic focus. Australia has funded the Research into Business and Zimbabwe windows. Providing grants to businesses that undertake projects to achieve market change in Africa remains highly relevant to the Strategy for Australia's Aid Investment in Agriculture, Fisheries and Water; Australia's Aid Investment Plan for Africa; and the Strategy for Australia's Aid Investments in Private Sector Development.
A mid-term review (MTR) of the program, by independent experts ECORYS, covering the period from its inception in 2008 to 2015, was completed in August 2015. The MTR looked at the AECF as an entire mechanism as well as a sample of 31 projects across seven of the eight windows.
The AECF management team and the KPMG fund managers gave management responses. Both responses concurred with some of the findings and recommendations, but also argued that ECORYS had misinterpreted parts of the purpose and application of the fund, and therefore some of the impacts.