On December 14, 2022, during the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit USAID announced a partnership with Bechtel to support infrastructure development critical to food security in Zambia that can be scaled across Africa.
Bechtel’s Manager of Corporate Relations, Stu Jones, said: “Public-private partnerships maximize sustainable impacts in addressing critical infrastructure development challenges in Africa. We are proud of bechtel.org's partnerships with USAID and other businesses in Zambia and across the continent – our efforts will save lives, improve the future of the continent, and ensure sustainable outcomes.”
A public-private partnership approach will increase efficiency, align with the USAID and African governments’ development strategies, speed up solutions, transition to local ownership, and ensure return on moderate investment with scalable impact. USAID business partners will explore ways to implement similar programs across the continent and across sectors that need support and development.
About bechtel.org: As a social enterprise, bechtel.org was established to deliver Impact Infrastructure to help improve the lives of people. Every project starts with a social need – for example, tackling life-threatening illnesses or establishing a safe haven for women to prosper. From there, we work closely with local communities, agencies, and experts, and draw upon Bechtel’s global engineering, construction, and project management experience to develop a framework for project delivery. To date, bechtel.org implemented projects aimed at reversing the rising number of illnesses and deaths brought on by extreme frost in the Peruvian Andes and integrating nature-based solutions to bolster flood resilience in India.
About the food security project in Zambia: USAID, through the Prosper Africa Initiative, is partnering with Bechtel’s social enterprise bechtel.org, agribusiness/energy firm AfricaGlobal Schaffer, and South Africa-based firm Export Trading Group and its social impact arm, Empowering Farmers Foundation, to address the global food security crisis. The partnership will promote shared prosperity by increasing the supply and quality of maize on the African continent. While 80 percent of smallholder farmers in Zambia produce maize, maize contributes up to 30 percent of the country’s post-harvest losses. When surplus maize is wasted and damaged maize is sold for less than its value, market dynamics, stability, and job growth are all impacted. This partnership will help to solve these challenges by building green, Smart Integrated District Aggregation Centers in areas where improving production will have huge impacts. The first phase of the partnership will prioritize the construction, start-up, and operationalization of seven centers in high-production areas in Zambia by the May harvest season. Then, the program will scale up to 23 centers to provide approximately 100,000 metric tons of maize and other crops and potentially avoid more than 800 metric tons of carbon – equivalent to around 80,000 gallons of consumed diesel. Moreover, one-third of the centers will be run by women smallholder farmers. Eliminating Zambia’s post-harvest maize loss will also provide over 1.5 million people with their necessary calorie requirements, thus significantly reducing hunger and malnutrition.