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Walmart Pledges $3 Million to Train African Farmers

More companies are investing in Africa, a continent steadily securing its position as an up-and-coming market, and on Wednesday Walmart announced it would give $3 million to train farmers in three African nations.

The low-cost leader made the pledge during the first-ever U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, D.C. this week where government and business leaders from the U.S. and 50 African countries met to discuss U.S.-Africa relations and trade policy.

Walmart committed to training one million farmers–half of which will be women–through its Global Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative by the end of 2016.

According to a White House statement Wednesday, the retailer will provide $3 million in grants in partnership with leading NGOs and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

The retailer said it is accelerating the pace of training and working to train more than 135,000 farmers in Kenya, Rwanda and Zambia. Kenyan farmers participating in the program can expect to see farm incomes double in just one growing season, the White House statement noted.

During a panel discussion titled, “Expanding Opportunities: The New Era For Business in Africa,” that was part of the U.S.-Africa Business Forum at the Summit, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon reiterated the retailer’s commitment to the continent.

“We’re investing in Sub-Saharan Africa for the long term, empowering African producers through hands-on training and using our global supply chain to connect them with our businesses around the world,” McMillon said. “Everywhere we operate we see that our customers have so much in common. Our customers in Africa want to spend less on everyday needs so they can provide more for their families. We want to help.”

The Forum brought together top executives in the U.S. and Africa, the U.S. government and more than 40 African heads of state to discuss strengthening business relationships and increasing market activity between the country and the continent.