2019 has been an amazing year for us and we couldn’t have done it without our amazing farmers, farm followers, and sponsors. As we come to the end of the year, here is a look back at what we achieved this year:
– Earlier this year, we launched our first portfolio company, Farmgate Africa. Farmgate Africa provided major processors and international buyers with the opportunity to purchase commodities directly from local farming clusters. In July 2019, we unified Farmgate Africa and Agricsquare (a community of Agriculture enthusiasts) with Farmcrowdy to provide an all-inclusive platform and create a seamless experience for our sponsors.
– This year marked our expansion to various states to continue empowering rural farmers. We expanded operations to Sokoto, Adamawa, and Nasarawa. As of December 2019, Farmcrowdy currently operates in 16 out of the 36 states in Nigeria, empowers 25,800+ rural farmers, operates on 19,000+ acres of land, and has reared about 3 million chickens.
– We launched Farmcrowdy 2.0, our upgraded website with lots of new features to enhance the user experience. Some of the new features on the site were; an all-new dashboard, more payment options for local and international sponsors, and easier sign-in/login options.
– In March 2019, Farmcrowdy raised an additional seed funding of $1 million from Cox Enterprises, Techstars, and Ajayi Solutions to continue building our award-winning model while expanding across Nigeria to empower rural farmers. We also announced the Farmcrowdy Technical Field Specialist (TFS) App for our on-site Technical Field Specialists.
– In May 2019, we announced our partnership with Livestock247.com. Livestock 247 is an online Livestock Market established to bring together Buyers, Sellers, Ranchers/Feedlot Operators, Veterinary Professionals, Haulage Companies, Butcheries/Abattoirs, and Financial Service Providers. The partnership provided potential customers the ability to buy quality, traceable and fit for slaughter livestock, empower livestock farmers through the feedlot program.
– Farmcrowdy also announced its partnership with Best Foods Fresh Farm. Best Foods is one of Nigeria’s most respected agribusiness companies which has been in operation for over 16 years. The partnership will improve the livestock value chain across Nigeria. It will also improve the quality of meat production and processing in alignment with international standards. This will make lead it to becoming the best source of processed meat in Nigeria.
– As we grew, we decided to apply our winning business model to other sectors. This led to the launch of Crowdyest, with the goal of contributing to the achievement of the SDGs. Farmcrowdy became the first featured portfolio company in Crowdyvest.
– The Governor of Oyo State, Engr. Oluseyi Makinde unveiled a partnership with Farmcrowdy in August 2019. The purpose of the partnership is to empower 50,000 Oyo State rural farmers. We are the first digital agriculture platform in Nigeria to achieve a partnership of this magnitude.
– November 16th – November 18th, 2019 was a memorable period for Farmcrowdy. Our Managing Director, Kenneth Obaijulu attended the Global Business Forum in Dubai. At the forum, Kenneth spoke to Doing Business in Africa Club Members at the Hult International Business School, Dubai. He spoke to them about the African market, it’s challenges, and how to make an impact in the society. Kenneth also discussed AgriTech with the Vice President, Prime Minister (UAE) and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid.
– In December 2019, we introduced a new farm – Cumin farm. Cumin is the dried seed of the herb, Cuminum cymium, a member of the Parsley family. It is available both as whole seeds as well as in ground form. It is a typical ingredient in chili powder and is also often found in other spice blends.
– We won our first global recognition and the United Nations “Global Disruptive Innovation in Agriculture” award in Italy.
– Farmcrowdy won The Next Bulls Award by the Nigerian Stock Exchange and BusinessDay.
– Farmcrowdy was presented with the award for Africa’s Innovative Business of the Year 2019 by the British Awards for African Development.
– Our founder, Onyeka Akumah was presented with the Leadership Award in Agriculture for 2019 by Global Leadership Institute.
– Farmcrowdy was included as one of Africa’s most inspiring businesses in the London Stock Exchange Group’s ‘Companies to Inspire Africa 2019 report.’
– The Financial Times/International Finance Corporation (FT/IFC) Transformational Business Awards 2019 shortlisted Farmcrowdy as one of the finalists under the category: Transformational Solutions in Food, Water and Land.
– Pagan Research listed Farmcrowdy as one of the 23 Amazing Startups in Nigeria that are revamping the Tech Ecosystem.
– On World Food Day 2019, we visited Victoria Island Nursery and Primary School, Eti Osa LGA. There, we educated the children on agriculture, World Food Day, and the role children can play towards achieving Zero Hunger. We also showed them some fun exercises they can engage in to stay fit and healthy.
– On October 7, 2019, the Lagos State Government introduced a Veterinary Health Certificate for Trade of Meat, being a requirement for major food vendors to ensure that the animals slaughtered and sold for consumption are under hygienic conditions. Farmcrowdy is a proud holder of the Veterinary Health Certificate for Trade of Meat. This means that beef that comes from the meat production arm of Farmcrowdy has been processed under hygienic conditions, tested and marked safe for consumption.
– Farmcrowdy turned three (3) on November 14th. We used that day to appreciate our farmers, farm sponsors, partners, stakeholders, and everyone who has supported us in the past three years. It was also a time to reflect on our growth in the past year and discuss ways to ensure growth by our fourth year.
– We had our annual mid-year conference on July 6th and July 7th. Guest speakers, Yemi Davids and Olakunle Soriyan were invited to speak to the staff. The conference helped reaffirm our commitment to the company goals and vision.
– In December 2019, we had our annual end of year retreat at Park Inn Radisson, Abeokuta where we spoke on our plans for next year. On our way there, we stopped at the famous Olumo rock where our brave climbers made it to the top.
It’s been a great year and we are grateful for all the love and support from everyone. We cannot wait to have an even better 2020. Until then, Happy holidays!
Diaspora investments: A must for the development of Africa
Image Source: rupixen.com
It has been three years since his Excellency president Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana shared some controversial thoughts on Africa’s dependence on aid or support from Europe in a decades long effort to develop the continent.
He was applauded for his bold statement and stance, but many (especially people from the Ghanaian diaspora) thought they were only words. Words they had heard many times before, but without plans or actions backing them. This might be true from their perspective, yet for the current generation of descendants from those who have been sold into slavery, it was good to hear an African leader show some backbone.
“We can no longer continue to make policy for ourselves, in our country, in our region, in our continent based on whatever support that the western world or France, or the European Union can give us. It will not work. It has not worked, and it will not work”.
The Diaspora Is Linked To The Strength of Africa
President Nana Akufo-Addo’s views on European aid are commendable, even if we debate how much he will be able to back up his words with actions.
“The place of the Diaspora, the status of the people in the diaspora, of the African diaspora, is intimately linked with what happens on the continent. An Africa strong and performing, transforms your position, your status here in Europe”.
He was addressing diaspora members in France, but he could have been addressing all people of African descent worldwide. The fact is that his ability to back his words, not exclusively but to an important extent, is contingent on the support he as an African leader receives from the African diaspora.
Remittance Coming From The African Diaspora
As a member from the African diaspora, one might ask: “Are we not supporting enough?”
Ishmeal Lamptey (Source: unsplash.com)
According to the World Bank Sub Saharan Africa received an estimated 48 billion US dollars in remittance funds from the African diaspora in 2019.
A study by Comstock, Iannone, Bhatia published in March 2009 (yes, the phenomenon has been studied for some time now) shows most funds are spend on costs of sustenance (29%), medical costs (16%) and education (12%).
When looking at the order of precedence these costs take in relation to each other, we see that unforeseen costs come first, second are medical costs and the last are for education. This underlines what we all know. The fact that there is often a sense of emergency to these transfers.
The Need To Move From Remittance To Investment In Africa
So, to answer the question of the diaspora, if it is not doing enough…well no. Harsh isn’t it? The fact of the matter is that the remittance funds are our own version of aid to the continent. It is keeping our people our family from dying but it’s not helping with any development.
We, the African diaspora, need to make the transition from remittance to investment. Remittance will always be part of the financial flows, but when seen in relation with Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) from the diaspora, they shouldn’t dominate as they do at present.
Following the content of a few independent journalists, there is now ample proof that at least some in the diaspora are not only willing, but able to move to the continent and start new businesses. But this group is a very small minority. The vast majority will not be able to follow suit and we should not want them to.
The revenues of the use of their human capital is needed to generate the investment flows Africa needs. The challenge Sub Saharan Africa faces is that of aggregation of available funds originating from the diaspora. The funds are clearly there, the industries which need them for we’ve identified, but now we need to create a robust infrastructure to aggregate and get them to their destination.
Like we pointed out in our previous article about thinking sufficiently big; while we keep our eyes on the end goal, we might need to start building one stone at a time. From individual projects, to industries, to the whole economy.
When doing so, we need to keep in mind that Africa is a unique environment. The common instruments of capital allocation used in the world should certainly be our starting point, but not limit our imagination when pooling the diaspora funds and channeling them into the continent.
As we have admonished a few times now; Africa should think BIG. And that also applies to its diaspora. In the coming articles we will continue exploring the idea of “thinking big” in the African context. So please make sure to subscribe to our Newsletter. We invite you to share your thoughts with us on the matter and get a discussion going with us and our other readers.
Article By: Jerrol Cambiel, Chief Executive EU Operations Debnoch Capital
North Ladder Secures $5 Million Series A Financing Round To Accelerate Global Expansion
North Ladder Team (Source: Siddharth Sudhakar)
North Ladder (previously called BuyBack Bazaar), a UAE based secured trading platform for pre-owned luxury assets and electronics, today announced a $5 million Series A funding round led by regional venture capital firm BECO Capital. The new investment will help the company scale up its technology platform, enhance customer experience and pursue further geographic expansion.
The homegrown start-up also revealed that it will begin operating under the new brand name North Ladder effective immediately, representing the company’s strategy of charting new markets and supporting individuals across the globe in their endeavour to elevate their financial situation. The disruptive and innovative technology platform is the first of its kind, providing access to verified buyers of second-hand goods and instant cash. North Ladder currently enables users to sell electronics such as phones, laptops, tablets, and smart watches, as well as luxury assets including watches and cars, with a unique option of buying it back within a few months.
The Series A financing builds on an exceptional year for North Ladder which saw rapid growth of its clients, network of buyers and corporate partnerships. To date, the platform has witnessed over 15,000 transactions in the UAE, with over 85 different nationalities served while earning an impressive 4.9/5 customer satisfaction rating. In 2021, the start-up is looking to establish its presence in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States, with a focus on scaling the platform significantly in the next 18 to 24 months.
“North Ladder has demonstrated tremendous success with its unique model of helping customers access immediate funds against their assets. The provision of a seamless and trusted digital platform for the sale of pre-owned goods has immense socially transformative potential at a global scale. We are excited about partnering with them to take their services to the next level,” said Dany Farha, CEO & Managing Partner, BECO Capital.
The company recently appointed Sandeep Shetty, former Managing Director of the core ride hailing business at Careem, as Cofounder and Chief Executive Officer of North Ladder. Prior to Careem he also led the digital transformation program at Emirates NBD and has held leadership positions at McKinsey & Company and GE Capital across India, the United States and the Middle East. Sandeep joins the leadership team of co-founders Pishu Ganglani and Ricky Husaini who together bring years of prior global start-up, financial services, technology and operations experience.
“Our exciting partnership with the region’s leading investor BECO Capital gives us the opportunity to scale operations in the UAE and expand to other strategic markets, with the mission of meaningfully impacting people across all strata of society,” said Sandeep Shetty of North Ladder. “Our global auction brings professional buyers from around the world to compete and provide local customers with the best prices and no hidden surprises.”
Since its launch in 2018, North Ladder has been recognized as one of the “Top 5 innovative start-ups in the MENA region” by PayPal backed accelerator, Village Capital and awarded as an Innovator by Entrepreneur Middle East.
Legacy Premier Foundation Congratulates New World Trade Organisation (WTO) Head Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala © AFP via Getty Images
The entire team at Legacy Premier Foundation hereby congratulates Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala as the new chief of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
With a proud heart and jubilation, we salute our quintessential woman of many feats on this global call to service.
This is a perfect example of a narrative that says “when opportunity meets preparedness success is inevitable”. Madam Director, you are an epitome of this simple quote. Over the years, you’ve carefully built a track record of competence with your records very visible in the public domain.
We are very pleased to send our warmest congratulations on your appointment as the seventh (7th) Director General of the foremost World Trade Organization, also making history as the first African and female to hold this prestigious position.
At this time where the world is battling with the Covid-19 pandemic, with a gradual return to normalcy, there are still some undulating terrains in the global trade landscape. We believe with you at the helm of affairs coupled with 25 years of diplomatic dealings and demonstrated leadership as a World Bank executive, you will saddle the affairs of the WTO and the entire global trade economy through these sensitive times.
We wish you much success in your new post and we look forward to the pleasure of working with you, in the place of making our African continent prominent in the scheme of world trades, and much more rejuvenation of hope that an African has all it takes to get to the zenith of his or her career without any equivocation.
We wish you a resounding success with legendary actions for global impact.
Signed: Dr Remi Duyile, Former VP, Bank of America and Founder, Legacy Premier Foundation
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