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IFC, FMO and IFU Help South Africa’s Leading Blueberry Producer Increase Jobs and Exports


In Johannesburg
Neha Sud

Phone: +27 671 760 092
E-mail nsud@ifc.org


In Washington

Elizabeth Price
Phone: +1 202 458 0387
E-mail eprice@ifc.org


Johannesburg, South Africa, January 29, 2019 - IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, Dutch Development Finance Institution, Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij Voor Ontwikkelingslanden N.V. (FMO), and Danish Sustainable Development Goals Investment Fund managed by the Investment Fund for Developing Countries (IFU) today announced an investment in Mbiza Trading Ltd. (currently being renamed to United Exports) to support a 180-hectare blueberry farm expansion and infrastructure upgrades. United Exports/Mbiza is a family-owned trading and holding company that produces and markets blueberries under its proprietary OZblu brand.

The financing from the three leading development finance institutions will enable the company to increase its planting and packing capacities to capture market share in the fast-growing international market for blueberries. The lenders will provide a long-term financing package to support the company’s expansion program. The instrument was specifically designed to assume early-stage risk not offered by commercial banks.


“The support from three leading development finance institutions will help us increase availability of these new varieties to meet the demand of markets as well as improve technology used by our farms, thus increasing their efficiency and incomes,” said Roger Horak, Founder and Group CEO of United Exports/Mbiza.


South Africa needs to expand efficient companies that can create jobs and grow the economy. The country has the potential to further leverage its competitive agribusiness sector and IFC is committed to working with the best companies and partners to make that happen,said Kevin Njiraini, IFC Regional Director for Southern Africa.


“With this facility to United Exports/Mbiza, FMO is helping South Africa to establish itself as an emerging blueberry production hub, resulting in large-scale job-creation in communities that have a very high unemployment rate and further development of the industry,” said Hans Bogaard, FMO’s Manager Agribusiness Food and Water for Africa.


“The financing for United Exports/Mbiza is a good example on how we can assist private companies in growing their business, increasing local jobs, food production as well as rural development, which is in line with our aim to support the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals,” said Johnny Ohgrøn Hansen, IFU Regional Director for Southern Africa.


United Exports/Mbiza expects to create 200 to 250 new permanent jobs and another 4,200 seasonal jobs, many of which will be women. The proposed investment will be complemented by advisory service that will helps strengthens supply, raises rural employment, and creates jobs along the food supply chain, and expands new domestic and export markets.


Blueberries are an increasingly popular berry among consumers, who have been increasing consumption of them over the past few decades as new varieties have made them easier to buy and store. In 2017, South Africa exported $50 million worth of fresh berries and blueberries being a significant portion, of which United Exports/Mbiza accounted for 30 percent.


About IFC

IFC—a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. IFC works with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, using its capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in the toughest areas of the world. In fiscal year 2018, IFC delivered more than $23 billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit
www.ifc.org

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About FMO

FMO is the Dutch development finance institution. As a leading impact investor, FMO supports sustainable private sector growth in developing countries and emerging markets by investing in ambitious projects and entrepreneurs. FMO believes that a strong private sector leads to economic and social development and has a more than 45-year proven track-record of empowering people to employ their skills and improve their quality of life. FMO focuses on three sectors that have high development impact: financial institutions, energy, and agribusiness, food & water. With a committed portfolio of EUR 9.2 billion spanning over 82 countries, FMO is one of the larger bilateral private sector developments banks globally. For more information: please visit
www.fmo.nl

About IFU

IFU is a Danish-state owned development finance institution. IFU offers risk capital and professional advice to companies as well as industrial and financial partners wanting to do business in developing countries and emerging markets in Africa, Asia, Latin America and parts of Europe. The purpose is to promote economic and social development in the investment countries. The Danish SDG Investment Fund is a public-private partnership, in which the Danish state, several pension funds and private investors collaborate to take up an important social challenge. In that way, the fund is an innovative solution to how Denmark can contribute to increasing private investments in developing countries, which is a prerequisite for meeting the Sustainable Development Goals towards 2030. For more information, visit
www.ifu.dk

About United Exports

Established by Roger Horak in 2003, United Exports is an international company specialising in the licensing and sub-licensing of leading fruit genetics.  As a vertically integrated business, the core business units are varietal breeding, fruit production, packing and export/import services. United Exports is best known for its global footprint of OZblu, the OZblu blueberry brand and its innovative, sustainable and precision approach to producing these exciting varieties of blueberries. Find out more at
www.united-exports.com