IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, yesterday announced a combined investment and mobilization of $11 million into Kenyan company Insta Products, which produces ready-to-use therapeutic food.
A high-calorie fortified peanut paste, the food is used for emergency feeding by relief organizations, like UNICEF and the World Food Program, to treat people suffering from acute malnutrition across East Africa and Yemen.
Amid the worst famine crisis since 1945, close to 70 percent of Insta’s therapeutic foods are being used to treat drought-related malnutrition in Somalia, Kenya, South Sudan and Uganda.
Nearly half of all deaths in children under five years can be attributed to malnutrition. Malnutrition in children can lead to poor cognitive development, learning capacities and increased risk of mortality. UNICEF estimates that 36 percent of children in East and Southern Africa show signs of stunted growth.
IFC mobilized investment will help Insta expand its operations and supply its therapeutic food to an additional 350,000 people annually, in emergency zones in East Africa and beyond. Insta is currently the largest manufacturer of ready-to-use therapeutic food in East Africa, and a top five supplier to UNICEF globally.
“IFC’s investment will allow Insta to ramp up its production of therapeutic food to reach more people suffering from malnutrition in conflict-affected areas and emergency zones. You cannot imagine the difference IFC’s vote of confidence is creating in Insta’s performance and the results in the lives of these little children,” said Dhiren Chandaria, CEO of Insta Products.
Oumar Seydi, IFC Director for Eastern and Southern Africa said, “Insta’s products are helping people afflicted with acute hunger in the drought-affected Horn of Africa. IFC is committed helping private companies like Insta to be part of the solution on crisis relief alongside governments and humanitarian agencies.”
As part of the $11 million investment, $3.5 million will be provided through the IFC’s Global Agriculture and Food Security Program. Donor partners to the program are the governments of Canada, Japan, the Netherlands, the U.K. and the U.S. This funding makes it possible for IFC to support projects with strong focus on food security and poverty reduction. An additional $4 million of the mobilized funding is provided by IFU, the Danish investment fund for developing countries.
“We are very pleased to provide financing for Insta, as their products are extremely important in combating acute hunger and helping vulnerable people to survive,” said Tommy Thomsen, CEO of IFU.
Supporting agribusiness and food security are cornerstones of IFC’s strategy in Africa. Agriculture employs over half of Africa’s labor force, and has a strong impact on reducing poverty and driving economic growth. The World Bank estimates that by 2030, agriculture could develop into a $1.0 trillion industry in Sub-Saharan Africa.