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Black Mamba- Changing the world one chilli at a time

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Black Mamba, the HOTTEST African brand is on a mission to bring sustainable, freshly made products to the world, that taste good, look good and do good. In this exclusive chat with Claudia Castellanos who is the Co-Founder and Managing Director at Black Mamba, Claudia shares her African story with Alaba Ayinuola of Business Africa Online. Excerpts.

Black Mamba is a fair trade producer of gourmet chilli products, based in the African Kingdom of Eswatini. Founded in 2010, and manufactures a range of chilli sauces, pestos, pickles, chutneys and jams, all made with natural, fresh ingredients, and no artificial flavours or preservatives.

Currently Black Mamba exports its products to South Africa, the U.K., Germany, Norway and the US, amongst other markets. And their premises posses a FSSC22000 food safety certification, one of the strictest in the world.

(Image credit: Claudia Castellanos)

This business was started by Claudia Castellanos and her husband Joe Roques who both share their love for chillies with the passion for development of communities and sustainable farming. From the beginning, while stirring a pot of chilli sauce from the back their house, they believed that it was possible to make a high quality, distinctively delicious product with a 100% sustainable value chain that would benefit those involved and the environment.

Black Mamba works in partnership with a local NGO called Guba, whose mission is to improve the livelihood of communities in Eswatini through the use of permaculture practices. Black Mamba and Guba have a symbiotic relationship where Guba develops the farmers and their farming skills, and Black Mamba provides the marketplace for the Guba-trained farmers to sell their organically grown products.

To date, Black Mamba provides a sustainable income to 60 farmers, mostly women, that are part of this initiative. Over 1000 individuals are directly impacted as each farmer has in average 6 dependents and shares their knowledge with 11 members of their community.

Chillies (Image credit: Claudia Castellanos)

Claudia said; “We have established ourselves as a cult brand locally, and envision growing this worldwide, connecting chilli heads and ethical foodies across the world to generation of growers, providing proof that planet and people matter.”

Social Impact

  • 14 full-time employees, 12 of which are women and the main breadwinners of their households in average 5 dependents.
  • 60 farmers, of which 50 are women- in average 6 dependents and sharing knowledge with 11 members of their communities.
  • Current impact over 1000 individuals Possibility to engage up to 180 farmers with a potential impact on 5000 individuals.
  • Access to work and sustainable income.
  • Welfare programmess: Peer education on health and gender topics, mobile clinics (general checkups, breast and cervix cancer, HIV) and savings programmes for employees
  • The farmers have also learnt how to grow herbs for medicinal use, other crops to sell to their communities, healthier food and firewood.

Growers (Image credit: Claudia Castellanos)

Also Read: Chynna Morgan – helping brands create memorable experiences using sound + music with GIF Out Loud

Environmental Impact

  • Improved soil structure.
  • Diversity of ground cover crops.
  • Reduced erosion.
  • Improved use of water resources.
  • Improved biodiversity at homestead level.
  • Packaging material: glass and cardboard.
  • 90% of our waste gets recycled or composted.
(Image credit: Claudia Castellanos)

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Press Release

AWIEF 2022: Where Africa’s big issues will be debated, and new ideas explored

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L-R: Nevine Abdelkhalek, Board Member Egyptian Businessmen’s Association, H. E. Dr. Rania Al-Mashat, Egypt’s Minister for International Cooperation, Irene Ochem, AWIEF Founder & CEO and Mohamed Youssef, Executive Director, Egyptian Businessmen’s Association

The annual AWIEF conference and awards, one of the continent’s leading innovation and entrepreneurship events, is heading to North Africa for the first time. AWIEF 2022 will take place on 26 and 27 September in Cairo, Egypt in partnership with Egypt’s Ministry for International Cooperation and co-organized by the Egyptian Businessmen’s Association (EBA).

During an official announcement of Egypt as host country for AWIEF 2022, Minister for International Cooperation H. E. Dr. Rania Al-Mashat said: “The hosting of this event reflects Egypt’s keenness and support for empowering women and enhancing their economic participation and important roles in innovation and entrepreneurship to achieve sustainable development.”

AWIEF Founder and CEO Irene Ochem says: “We are truly excited and happy to be hosting AWIEF2022 in Egypt and partnering with the International Cooperation Ministry and the Egyptian Businessmen’s Association. Egypt is at the forefront of African entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem drive. Hosting AWIEF in a country known for its strong support for women’s economic empowerment and sustainable development is important for us.”

AWIEF2022 is a hybrid event (in-person at the Cairo Marriott Hotel and online), with an easy-to-access virtual platform for speakers, delegates, and virtual exhibitors to participate.

Now in its eighth year, the annual AWIEF conference brings together more than 1,300 entrepreneurs, start-ups, thought leaders, policymakers, international development partners, investors, CSOs, academia, and media for dialogue and discussions on issues of women empowerment, entrepreneurship, investing, technology, and innovation in Africa.

Previous high-level guests and speakers include a former African President and Vice-President, Ministers, Mayors, a UN Under-Secretary-General and UN Agency representatives, Development Finance Institutions and Financial Institutions, Multinationals, a Nobel Laureate, Vice-Chancellors, and C-Suite corporate business leaders.

The theme for this year’s conference is “Advancing Africa through Gender Integration”, with the two-day event once again being a platform where Africa’s big issues will be debated, and new ideas explored.

A stellar line-up of speakers, high profile keynotes and interactive panel discussions will cover topics such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Climate Change & Sustainability, Creating an enabling environment for MSMEs and SMEs, Innovation & Technology, Fintech, Agritech & Healthtech, Intra-Africa Trade and the AfCFTA, Energy & Infrastructure, Investment & Financial Services, as well as Agriculture & Food Security.

AWIEF2022 will also include a dedicated onsite exhibition called The Creative Lane where businesses in the creative industry are invited as exhibitors to promote and showcase their products and services.

The conference will be capped by an awards ceremony and gala dinner which will take place in a very special destination in Cairo on 27th September, where the eight winners of the 2022 AWIEF Awards will be announced and celebrated.

To buy your ticket for AWIEF2022, register online HERE

 

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Economy

Fast-track urbanization to spur growth, shelter Afrique urges African Countries

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Shelter Afrique Head of Policy, Research and Partnerships Dr. Muhammad Gambo leading a panel discussion on financing Urban development at the 9th Africities Conference in Kisumu. With him are (from left to right) Dr. Kamal Ben Amara, Mayor of Bizerta, Tunisia; Hashting Chikoko Regional Director, Africa at C40 Cities; and Kevin Ouko, Director of Corporate Banking at Ecobank. (Photo: Supplied).

Pan- African housing and urban development financier, Shelter Afrique has urged African countries to fast-track urbanization to stimulate economic development across the continent.

Speaking at the 9th Africities Conference held in Kisumu, Kenya between 17-21 May, 2022 and attended by over 11,000 people, including 8,000 official delegates from across Africa and globally, Shelter Afrique’s Head of Policy, Research and Partnerships Dr. Muhammad Gambo said urbanization could play a major role in economic and social progress, if well managed.

“No country has grown to middle income without industrializing and urbanizing and none has grown to high income without vibrant cities. China, for instance, is widely held up as an example of how urbanization can fuel industrialization and transform living standards. This is why we strongly believe African countries should put more emphasis on effective urbanization if they intend to lift their people out of mass poverty, and doing so, fast,” Dr. Gambo said.

A report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Africa’s Urbanisation Dynamics 2020: Africapolis, Mapping a News Urban Geography”, the pace of urbanization and urban population growth in Africa has changed significantly across the continent generally as well as within its various regions.

According to the report, Africa’s urbanization rate will continue to grow among the fastest of the world regions in the coming years as its population grows, which is expected to double by the year 2050.

“We urge policymakers across the continent to enact policies that will encourage urban growth modeled around economic development and poverty eradication,” Dr. Gambo said.

Dr. Gambo, however, noted that funding urban growth still remains a formidable challenge for many countries, but believes it’s achievable.

“Shelter Afrique recently completed a debut ₦46 billion (US$110.7 million) Series 1 Fixed Rate Senior Unsecured Bond Issuance in Nigeria’s capital market under its ₦200 billion (US$481.3 million) bond issuance programme for housing and urban development in Nigeria. This issue was 60.7% oversubscribed, meaning there is an appetite for such bonds, not only in Nigeria but also in other countries like Kenya, South Africa, Morocco, etc. What African countries need is the know-how to create financial ecosystems that can support the mobilization of municipal and subnational finances for urban infrastructure development,” Dr Gambo said.

The African Development Bank estimates that the continent’s infrastructure financing needs will be as much as US$170 billion a year by 2025, with an estimated gap of around US$100 billion a year.

Africities is a Pan Africa conference that is convened by the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa’s (UCLG-A) and brings together the leadership of cities and sub-national governments and their associations for the advancement of decentralization and local governance aimed at improving the living standards of the citizens. This year’s conference discussed the role of Intermediary Cities of Africa in the Implementation of Agenda 2030 of the United Nations and the African Union Agenda 2063.

 

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Press Release

EFG Hermes Declares Buoyant Q1 Result of 2022

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EFG Hermes Holding Group CEO, Karim Awad 

EFG Hermes Holding, a universal bank in Egypt and the leading investment bank franchise in Frontier Emerging Markets (FEM), announced today an outstanding set of results to kick off the year, with revenues for the first quarter of 2022 leaping 55% Y-o-Y to EGP 1.9 billion. Group net profits after tax and minority interest grew 18% Y-o-Y to EGP 345 million driven by solid performance across the Group’s lines of business.

“EFG Hermes Holding’s diversified operations and holistic product offerings continue to drive our resilient performance and exceptional revenue growth, making us one of the fastest growing companies in our footprint,” said EFG Hermes Holding’s Group CEO Karim Awad. “Our Non-Bank Financial Institutions (NBFI) platform is responding to consumer and corporate needs during high inflationary times. Net profits for the platform, together with results generated following the majority-stake acquisition of a commercial bank, generated half of our Group’s net profits after tax and minority. On the sell-side of the house, I am equally pleased with our Investment Banking division, which closed five transactions valued at USD 301 million, including the first IPO in the cosmeceutical space in Egypt and two regional M&A transactions. Meanwhile, our Brokerage division continues to hold firmly onto its first-place ranking in Cairo, Nairobi, and Dubai,” added Awad.

Sell-side revenues gained a record 61% Y-o-Y to EGP 494 million on the back of solid performance by the Investment Banking and Brokerage divisions, which grew revenues 52% Y-o-Y and 62% Y-o-Y respectively. Investment Banking revenues reached EGP 64 million driven by strong deal execution capabilities in the MENA region, while revenues from the Brokerage division grew to EGP 430 million on the back of stronger revenues generated by all MENA markets together with higher revenues from the Structured Products desk.

The Group’s buy-side revenues came in flat Y-o-Y to record EGP 113 million in 1Q2022. Asset Management revenues rose 7% Y-o-Y to EGP 90 million due to higher management fees driven by increased AUMs. Meanwhile, Private Equity revenues stood at EGP 23 million compared to EGP 29 million in the same period last year due to a high base in 1Q2021 that included additional management fees following the third close of the EFG Hermes Education Fund, which, if excluded, would have boosted the division’s revenues by 28% Y-o-Y.

The NBFI platform recorded a 34% Y-o-Y increase in revenues to EGP 601 million. The platform’s growth in the first quarter was predominantly driven by the Group’s microfinance player Tanmeyah, Buy-Now, Pay-Later (BNPL) fintech platform valU, and EFG Hermes Corp-Solutions’ factoring arm. Tanmeyah booked revenues of EGP 395 million, up 21% Y-o-Y driven by stronger sales. valU posted stellar results for the quarter, with revenues surging 157% Y-o-Y to EGP 143 million. In parallel, EFG Hermes Corp-Solutions’ factoring business more than doubled its top line, with revenues hitting EGP 18 million – a 118% growth compared to the same period last year. Meanwhile, revenues from EFG Hermes Corp-Solutions’ leasing business revenues declined 21% Y-o-Y to EGP 45 million.

Revenues generated by capital market and treasury operations contracted 24% Y-o-Y to EGP 294 million in 1Q2022, mainly due to a decline in net interest income that was partially attributed to a lower cash position following the acquisition of a majority stake in aiBANK.

The Group’s operating expenses rose 49% Y-o-Y to EGP 1.2 billion in 1Q2022, driven by the consolidation of aiBANK’s operating expenses, valU’s higher operating costs, and an increase in the Group’s employee costs.

Group net profit before tax rose 67% Y-o-Y to EGP 677 million in 1Q2022, while net profit after tax and minority interest came in at EGP 345 million in 1Q2022, up 18% from the same period last year, mainly on higher taxes and minority interest. The consolidation of aiBANK’s taxes, growing tax charges from expanding Egyptian operations (NBFI and Brokerage), and increased taxes from distribution of dividends to the Holding led to a 143% Y-o-Y growth in tax expenses to EGP 229 million at the end of 1Q2022.

“We look forward to driving more value for shareholders as the year progresses and we work to hit the milestones we’ve set out for 2022. In the quarters to come, we will continue to focus on garnering more opportunities in the GCC and cementing our foothold there in the Investment Bank space. At the same time, our NBFI platform will continue to grow as our BNPL player valU expands its operations and Tanmeyah continues to deliver solid revenues. On the commercial bank front, we will continue to support the new senior management team to drive change across the bank, create growth opportunities, and capitalize on the synergies inherent in our business model as a universal bank in Egypt. As an impact-driven organization, we will maintain laser-sharp focus on providing boundless financial opportunities that foster growth and create value for our stakeholder base and the communities in which we live and work,” said Awad.

Earlier this month, the Firm was recognized by the Financial Times and Statista as one of Africa’s fastest-growing companies in 2022. It was one of only 10 African financial services companies listed on the year’s ranking and was named 55th fastest-growing company in Africa. In its home market of Egypt, the Firm was also named the fourth-fastest growing company and was the only Egyptian financial services institution listed in the ranking.

 

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