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Goodwell invests in SOUK Farms to scale sustainable agricultural production across Rwanda

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Goodwell Investments, an impact investing firm fostering inclusive growth in emerging markets is pleased to announce their investment in SOUK Farms, a leading grower and exporter of fresh horticultural produce from Rwanda. The funding comes through uMunthu II, the impact investor’s 150 EUR million fund focused on scalable, early-growth stage businesses in Africa. The investment provides SOUK Farms with a solid foundation for scaling their sustainable agricultural business in Rwanda, enabling them to create resilient systems and value chains that benefit local farmers and the surrounding community. 

Founded in 2019, SOUK Farms has already carved out a significant niche in Rwanda’s agricultural landscape, building its own farming operations as well as working with a wide network of outgrowers to cultivate and export high-quality exotic horticultural produce while also serving consumers in the Rwanda market. They have achieved this with a unique blend of innovation and a steadfast commitment to strengthening the resilience of local farms against climate change and disruptive rainfall patterns. 

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Partnering with Goodwell gives SOUK Farms the necessary capital to pursue these ambitions at a wider scale. “The opportunities to create sustainable agricultural practices and improve existing ones in Rwanda are great. Our partnership with Goodwell will drive a huge impact not only for the growth of SOUK Farms but also for the farmers and the communities we work as we continue to offer solutions that improve incomes and create employment while also implementing education and outreach programs for youth and women,” said Seun Rasheed, Founder and CEO at SOUK Farms. 

SOUK Farms has been a key player in Rwanda’s socioeconomic transformation, and their ability to create a positive impact in the local agricultural supply chain is well established. Working closely with over 1,200 farmers across Rwanda, they have greatly improved livelihoods, enabling farmers to earn upwards of 300% more than they did prior to being outgrowers for SOUK Farms. Currently, 71% of the company’s workforce are women, aligning with the Rwandan government’s national Agriculture policy which promotes gender equality at all levels of the agricultural value chain. 

Their impact efforts and solid business model are an ideal fit for Goodwell’s agricultural investment strategy, which strives to improve value chains, reduce post-harvest losses, and create better livelihoods for smallholder farmers.  

“Under the experienced leadership of Seun Rasheed, SOUK Farms has a clear vision for expanding their impact and productivity in a sector with ever-increasing demand. We are proud to support the company in this exciting stage of their business growth, and look forward to seeing how they continue to innovate in the agricultural space. With this investment, we are also pleased to mark our entry into the Rwandan market, further expanding Goodwell’s presence in East Africa,” said Judith Ngonyo, Investment Manager at Goodwell Investments. 

This investment comes at a crucial time, enabling SOUK Farms to build on its success, scale operations, and increase the productivity of Rwandan farmers. It also reinforces Goodwell’s commitment to supporting companies that improve livelihoods and deliver affordable, accessible, high-quality goods and services to underserved populations. 

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Press Release

Beta Glass Partners Wecyclers to Launch Cullet Trucks, Enhancing Recycling and Sustainability Efforts

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Beta Glass PLC, a member of the Frigoglass Group and the leading manufacturer of glass packaging, crowns and crates in West and Central Africa, has partnered with Wecyclers, an innovative waste management company, to launch a fleet of cullet trucks. This strategic initiative aims to enhance recycling efforts, promote sustainability, and reinforce environmental responsibility across Nigeria.

The official launch event took place on Wednesday, 22nd May 2024, at the Beta Glass headquarters in Lagos, marking a significant milestone and commitment by both parties towards a more sustainable future for Nigerians.

The new trucks will be instrumental in collecting and transporting cullet, the term for bottles and jars for recycling, from various collection points to the local production facilities of Beta Glass. By integrating these specialised trucks into the supply chain, both companies aim to increase the volume of recycled glass used in manufacturing, thereby reducing the quantity of virgin raw materials and minimising the environmental footprint.

Key Benefits of the Partnership:

  • Enhanced Recycling Efficiency: The cullet trucks will streamline the collection process, making it easier to gather larger quantities of glass for recycling,
  • Environmental Impact: By using more recycled glass in production, Beta Glass will reduce its carbon footprint.
  • Economic Opportunities: This initiative will create new job opportunities in the recycling sector, supporting local communities.
  • Public Awareness: The partnership aims to raise awareness about the importance of recycling and environmental stewardship among the Nigerian populace.

Commenting on this new partnership, Darren Bennett-Voci, CEO of Beta Glass, stated: “Our partnership with Wecyclers represents a significant step forward in our commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility. The launch of the cullet trucks will not only enhance our recycling capabilities but also set a benchmark for the industry. We are excited to see the positive impact this initiative will have on our environment and our community.”

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Olawale Adebiyi, CEO of Wecyclers, further added: “Wecyclers is dedicated to providing innovative recycling solutions that empower communities and protect our environment. Partnering with Beta Glass to launch the cullet trucks is a testament to our shared vision of a sustainable future. We look forward to working together to foster a recycling and environmental awareness culture across Nigeria.”

The launch event featured a demonstration of the cullet trucks in operation, along with presentations from key stakeholders about the anticipated benefits of the initiative.

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Press Release

The Gender Mainstreaming for Climate Entrepreneurship

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The Gender Mainstreaming Programme 2024 organized by the Nigeria Climate Innovation Centre aimed to close the gender gap in climate entrepreneurship. NCIC achieves this objective by collaborating with industry players, and stakeholders to drive and gain support for women in the industry, across Nigeria and the world at large. WeClimeEquallyWorkshop and the G-FIVE Business Accelerator by NCIC are the two instruments the organization uses to foster gender equality and climate-focused entrepreneurship. 

The Gender and Climate Workshop Event 

This Year’s WeClimeEquallyWorkshop 2024 with the theme: Equity and Sustainability Towards a Prosperous Future was held on Thursday 21, March 2024 at Four Points by Sheraton. The welcome address was led by Mr. Adamu, the Chief Operating Officer who represented Bankole Oloruntoba, the Chief Executive Officer, of NCIC. He emphasized the work of NCIC in championing projects that drive gender equality and entrepreneurship.

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 Mrs. Titi Oshodi, Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Climate Change and Circular Economy rendered the Goodwill Message and raised the need for effective communication to spur the needed change as there are many communication nuances in the Nigerian landscape. Rendering the speech of His Excellency Babajide Sanwolu, Governor of Lagos state, Mrs. Oshodi plauded that the WeClimEqualityWorkshop provides a pivotal platform to exchange knowledge and amplify women’s voices and ensure their meaningful participation in climate and circular economy because there is a link between gender, women, and marginalization is essential.

The workshop also featured 4 expert paper presentations delivered by industry experts from KPMG, FC4SLagos, Fate Foundation, and academia. In addition, attendees were treated to an intriguing panel session on applying a gender lens to the triple Es of Employment, Environment, and Entrepreneurship. Following hours of interactions, attendees were allowed an opportunity to co-create practical strategies to infuse gender lens in organizational programming, policies, and framework. 

Green Females in Venture Enterprise Business Accelerator 

Building on some key outcomes of the #WeClimeEqually Workshop, 50 climate-focused women entrepreneurs entered a 4-day hybrid business accelerator program delivered in partnership with the Lagos Business School Sustainability Center. Core modules of the accelerator centered around sustainability, innovation, legal regulatory frameworks, business management, and grant writing amongst others. 

Additional program support included a nursery for mothers, accommodation, a virtual learning platform for long-distance learners, and bonding activities. Participants were also certified at the end of the program. The Gender Mainstreaming for Climate Entrepreneurship is sponsored by Climate KIC; Europe’s leading Climate Innovation and Irish Aid. To learn more about the Nigeria Climate Innovation Center Visit the website here https://nigeriacic.org/about-us/

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AFEX Ranks 5th on FT Africa’s Fastest Growing Companies in 2024

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AFEX Management (Image: Supplied).

AFEX, Africa’s leading commodities market player, announced that it has secured a place in the Financial Times (FT) ranking of Africa’s Fastest-Growing Companies in 2024. Coming in at Number 5 this year, this marks the organization’s 3rd consecutive entry on the list, after ranking as the fastest growing company in Africa in 2023. 

The Financial Times, in partnership with Statista, recognizes Africa’s most exciting businesses through the Fastest Growing Companies ranking, celebrating thriving businesses with exceptional revenue growth. The list ranks African companies by their compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in revenue for 2019 and 2022. In that period, AFEX grew by 287.82% in the 4-year period, despite still felt effects of COVID-19, macroeconomic headwinds and market upheavals caused by uncertain policy environments and increasing natural disasters/ climate change effects witnessed in its existing markets of Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda.

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Since 2019, AFEX has been working across Africa, creating an efficient market for commodities trading and solving food insecurity by driving financing from the Nigerian Capital markets and retail investors. In 2020, the launch of their digital trading platform, ComX, lowered barriers for commodity trading and alternative investments, while providing transparent financing options for the currently fragmented agriculture value chain. Through innovative financial instruments like the FETC and Asset Backed Commercial Papers which have historically performed well, AFEX is creating the infrastructure to boost agriculture production across Africa. 

Akinyinka Akintunde, President/CEO, AFEX Nigeria said “We are proud to once again be featured on the Fastest growing companies list for the third time in a row. This year’s entry is perhaps more significant for us considering the harsh market environment that a lot of businesses are undoubtedly contending with. This is a testament to all the work we have put in over the past few years to ensure Africa’s food self-sufficiency. Our expansion into Cote d’Ivoire this year also mirrors our commitment to our strategic expansion plan, Project Black Panther, which sees us replicating our business model in 9 African countries in the next decade to improve cross border trade on the continent”.

Today, AFEX has impacted the lives of over 500,000 farmers across 4 countries, while prioritizing creating a positive and lasting difference in their communities. Ultimately, AFEX is empowering local farming communities, fostering economic opportunities, and contributing to Africa’s sustainable self-sufficiency as the company prioritizes its impact goals.

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