USAID announced that it will launch a second African Diaspora Marketplace (ADM) in the fourth quarter of 2011, to encourage economic growth by supporting U.S.-based African Diaspora entrepreneurs for start up businesses in Sub-Saharan Africa.  One such firm that made headlines in 2010 is Sproxil, a provider of cell phone technology in Nigeria used by consumers to identify fake medications.

The new Marketplace will improve upon the first African Diaspora Marketplace, by focusing grants toward priority, high-impact sectors in Africa, including agribusiness, renewable energy, and information and communication technology.

Sproxil’s success in combining information and communication technology with a public service need, medicine verification, is one of the best examples to come out of the first African Diaspora Marketplace.  Other successful ventures include Global Tracking, a GPS tracking system for monitoring cargo in Ethiopia, and Earthwise Ferries, a rapid-transportation ferry service between Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.

“Small and medium enterprises provide the majority of employment opportunities globally,” said USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah. “Entrepreneurship can be a powerful tool to enhance economic opportunity and empower communities, and Diasporas often play a powerful role in starting businesses and mentoring emerging entrepreneurs, so we are pleased to work once again with Western Union on ADM-II.” 

Western Union is partnering with USAID, and the partnership will award more than dozen matching grants of $100,000 each to winning business entries in seven countries.  

By S. Imber