The $5 million Innovation and Investment Fund (IIF) will support activities across USAID-PRIME through targeted investments in the form of technical assistance, matching grants, and service contracts with private-sector, government and non-government stakeholders. IIF will strengthen the resilience of Ethiopia’s pastoralist areas through select investments that drive social and economic change.

IIF pictureIIF will make investments in partnership with other stakeholders to catalyze sustainable growth. In general, IIF will require a minimum of 50 percent co-investment from partners across the portfolio. Through this mechanism, IIF will buy down risk associated with new business ventures or approaches, giving partners the confidence to invest in new initiatives.

The overarching goal of IIF is to catalyze sustainable improvements in industry capacity, expand supply chains, increase sector competitiveness and strengthen the financial services industry. Ideally, this will be done by encouraging other investors to crowd into the market as clear pathways to profitability and growth are demonstrated through IIF.


IIF’s first investment in the Jijiga Export Slaughter House will help anchor the livestock market in the Somali Region and encourage value chain development. The abattoir, currently under construction in Faafan, will create more than 1,000 jobs, many of which are designated for women, and link livestock traders in the region with a local market.


Ethiopian companies with activities that benefit the Afar, Oromia and Ethiopia’s Somali regions, and that require funding for fixed assets, training, marketing, technical assistance or other one-off expenses may be eligible. In addition to direct contributions to small and medium-size enterprises, IIF intends to fund through financial institutions, a private equity firm, and through small grants to not-for-profit entities.


An evaluation committee comprised of representatives of USAID, Mercy Corps and USAID-PRIME partners, will review proposals. Evaluation will be conducted on the basis of the requirements noted above, USAID considerations including environmental compliance, and the following criteria:

  • Business plan viability
  • Well-researched sourcing and marketing
  • Local stakeholder consultation and support
  • Risk mitigation
  • Potential for impact and alignment with USAID PRIME approach

IIF plans to complete awards by 2015.


Bethel Tsegaye, IIF Manager, +251 (0) 111.110.777

Mercy Corps Ethiopia