The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (Miga) has signed an agreement with the Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank (TDB) to boost agricultural imports in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Under the deal, the World Bank agency will work with TDB and Moroccan fertiliser producer OCP to identify “suitable areas” for deploying Miga’s risk mitigation instruments.

The three parties will collaborate on trade finance transactions, where Miga will provide guarantees backing the import of strategic commodities such as fertiliser into Africa, which has been hard bit by the Ukraine crisis and the resultant disruptions to food supply chains.

“This collaboration aims to enhance food security, promote employment and farmers’ livelihoods, secure their access to international markets, bolster productivity, and increase foreign exchange availability and earnings by facilitating the export of commercial crops,” TDB, Miga and OCP say in a statement.

The agreement was signed during the annual World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund meetings – held in Marrakech – which brought together central bankers, ministers of finance and politicians.

African countries have faced a surge in fertiliser prices in the past few years, on the back of supply disruptions linked to the Covid-19 pandemic and more recently the fallout from the Ukraine war.

A June survey conducted by international charity organisation ActionAid found fertiliser prices had more than doubled in several African nations such as Nigeria, Kenya and Malawi, since February 2022.

This has “compelled farmers to reduce its use in their farms, resulting in loss of crop production in all surveyed countries”, ActionAid says.

US and EU-led sanctions have been designed to allow Russian agricultural exports to continue to flow, yet Moscow claims these supply chains have been affected by payment difficulties and a lack of insurance.  

Many African countries have a significant dependence on Moscow for their fertiliser needs, research shows.

A report published in late 2022 by African non-profit Akademiya2063 notes that the Central Africa Republic, Benin and Nigeria have all typically relied on Russia and Ukraine for over 45% of their fertiliser imports.

Niger, Senegal, Cameroon and Ghana are also considerably exposed at more than 30%, the report says.

OCP has also inked an agreement with another World Bank member, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), securing a €100mn green loan backing the construction of two solar power plants in Morocco.

The €360mn project will provide clean energy for OCP’s operations in the mining towns of Benguerir and Khouribga, home to Morocco’s – and the world’s – largest phosphate reserves, the IFC says.