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Agribusiness: Africa’s New Investment Frontier

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In the past decade, a stroll along the aisles of any African supermarket is revealing: there is a new wave of home-brewed brands that are fast becoming household names. Products like Dangote rice from Nigeria, Akabanga pepper oil from Rwanda and Tomoca coffee from Ethiopia attest to the gradual but persistent evolution towards greater agro-processing and value addition in the domestic agriculture sector.

Africa’s agribusiness sector is expected to reach $1 trillion by 2030, so there is certainly cause for optimism. Consumer demand for food in Africa is growing at an unprecedented rate. But what is fuelling this growth?

First, size matters. At a population of 1.2 billion people, Africa is currently the second most populous continent in the world, superseded only by Asia. According to United Nations projections, Africa’s population could reach 2 billion by 2030 and 2.5 billion by 2050. This means that one in five consumers globally will be African.

Second, quality counts. Sustained GDP growth rates in several countries across the continent have translated into rising incomes for some segments of the population. According to the African Development Bank’s African Economic Outlook Report, the middle-class population is expected is projected to reach 1.1 billion by 2060 which will make up 42% of the population. The average African middle-class consumer is becoming relatively more affluent, sophisticated and discerning in the food they choose to buy and eat. Concerns about price/quality trade-offs, convenience, nutritional content and food safety, amongst others, are central in their minds.

Third, concentration can be powerful. Although most growth poles are small to medium cities, megacities with populations of over 10 million inhabitants, such as Cairo, Lagos and Kinshasa, have gained increased prominence. These metropoles offer ripe opportunities for investment, as a result of the triad of high consumption, concentrated spending power, and agglomeration (i.e. lower and fixed distribution costs).

On the supply side, there is significant untapped potential. Over 60% of the world’s uncultivated arable land is in Africa.

Policy makers recognize the huge opportunities these trends present and are making concerted efforts to create and maintain an enabling business environment to attract both local and foreign investors. The African Development Bank is at the forefront of this coalition of the “ready” to transform African agriculture.

Under its Feed Africa Strategy, the Bank is supporting its regional member countries to address both demand and supply side constraints along agricultural value chains. Through initiatives like the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT), the Bank is boosting historically low yields in priority commodities such as rice, maize and soybeans. In Sudan for example, the TAAT-supported heat-resistant wheat variety has increased wheat self-sufficiency from 24% in 2016 to 45% in the 2018-2019 farming season.

At the same time, Special Agro-Processing Zones (SAPZs) are attracting both hard and soft infrastructure and creating value addition to increased agricultural produce. Together with partners, including Korea-Exim Bank and the European Investment Bank, the African Development Bank has invested $120 million in SAPZs in Guinea, Ethiopia and Togo, which will significantly expand local agro-processing activities along numerous agricultural value chains.

Along with these key investments in Africa’s agricultural value chains, the continent is starting to consolidate its wins. A case in point is regional integration, exemplified by the recent ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which has the potential to make Africa the largest free trade area in the world.

Agribusiness has already caught the eye of investors. Last year, it was one of the main attractions at the inaugural Africa Investment Forum conference, which is becoming the continent’s premier marketplace for global and pan-African business leaders, and an innovator in accelerating deals.

Also Read: Interview With Deborah Ogwuche, Founder Of Food Channel Africa

Agriculture was one of the nine sectors that attracted investor interest at the 2018 Africa Investment Forum. The sector held its own against big hitters like financial services, infrastructure, energy, and ICT. One such transaction was the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) deal in which $600 million loan financing was mobilized from the African Development Bank and other investors to boost annual production of cocoa beans from 880,000 tons to 1.5 million tons. Within the next three years, the project is also expected to promote growth in the domestic cocoa value chain by increasing processing capacity two-fold from 220,000 tons to 450,000 tons per annum.

Africa’s expanding consumer base will undoubtedly lead to more spending on food and beverages on the continent. This should be enlightening for would-be investors in food processing and value addition ventures.

The front door to these opportunities is the Africa Investment Forum, scheduled for November 11-13 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Mariam Yinusa and Edward Mabaya are Principal Economist and Manager, respectively, in the Agribusiness Development Division of the African Development Bank

AfDB

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African Entrepreneurs in Jack Ma Foundation Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative Win $1 Million

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$1 Million Awarded to African Entrepreneurs in Grand Finale of the Jack Ma Foundation Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (Source: Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI)

The aim of the prize is to support and inspire the next generation of African entrepreneurs who are building a more sustainable and inclusive economy for the future.

ACCRA, Ghana, November 17, 2019- Last night the Jack Ma Foundation hosted its first annual Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI) grand finale awarding $1 million in prize money to 10 entrepreneurs from across Africa.

The ANPI is a flagship initiative of the Jack Ma Foundation, created by Jack Ma after his first trip to Africa in 2017. The aim of the prize is to support and inspire the next generation of African entrepreneurs who are building a more sustainable and inclusive economy for the future. In its inaugural year, nearly 10,000 entrepreneurs from 50 countries across the continent applied. The Jack Ma Foundation has committed to running the competition for 10 years.

The finale event, called “Africa’s Business Heroes,” was held in Accra, Ghana, where the top 10 finalists pitched their businesses directly to four prestigious judges including Jack Ma, Founder of Alibaba Group and the Jack Ma Foundation; Strive Masiyiwa, Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet Group; Ibukun Awosika, Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria and Founder/CEO of The Chair Centre Group; and Joe Tsai, Executive Vice Chairman of Alibaba.

The specifics of the prize pool division is listed below. Each finalist is receiving a share of $1 million.

The top three finalists were:


“It was an incredible honor to be named Africa’s Business Hero. I was truly inspired by my fellow winners at today’s Netpreneur Summit. The Africa Netpreneur Prize will give me the resources to grow LifeBank and expand our presence in Nigeria and throughout the rest of Africa. I look forward to continuing my journey to solve problems and make a significant impact on the future of Africa,” said Temie Giwa-Tubosun, Founder and CEO of LifeBank.

The remaining finalists, who each received $65,000, are listed below:


“The finalists who competed in ‘Africa’s Business Heroes’ should be an inspiration for Africa and for the world. Each of these entrepreneurs looked at big challenges facing their communities, and saw them as opportunities,” said Jack Ma, Founder of the Alibaba Group and Jack Ma Foundation. “It is my strong belief that entrepreneur heroes, like these finalists, will change the world – creating companies that drive inclusive growth and opportunity for the continent. Everyone is a winner tonight.”

“This competition demonstrates the overwhelming entrepreneurial talent that exists across Africa. I’m very excited about the future of industry and entrepreneurship for this continent,” said Strive Masiyiwa, Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet Group. “The top 10 truly show the limitless potential of African business.”

“What really struck me about the finalists was that they each addressed specific African problems with a specific African solution in a fresh way, leveraging technology that wasn’t available previously,” said Ibukun Awosika, Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria and Founder/CEO of The Chair Centre Group. “If this is an indication of the future of entrepreneurship on the continent, then Africa’s future looks bright.”

Also Read: Meet Mariatheresa S. Kadushi, Founder of M-afya, A Mobile App Providing Health Information In Native Languages In Africa

“Africa’s Business Heroes” will be televised in a two-hour special throughout Africa. The journeys of the finalists as well as their pitches and business insights from the judges will all be included in this exciting television event.

You can watch “Africa’s Business Heroes” on the following dates and channels:

  • December 13, 2019 – ROK 3 on DSTV
  • December 14, 2019 – NOVELA and Sports Focus on StarTimes


Check your local listings for specific channel and airing times.

The initiative will host a pitch competition where 10 finalists from across the continent will compete for $1 million in total prize money every year through 2028. All entrepreneurs across Africa, are encouraged to apply. Entries for next year’s prize will open in the first half of 2020.

Follow @africanetpreneurprize (https://bit.ly/2pqInf) on Facebook, @AFNetpreneurs (https://www.Netpreneur.Africa/)   on Twitter for application details.  For photos and videos from the finale event, please visit Alizila (https://bit.ly/2qWkxgf)

Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI)

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Egypt, PRL sign train engines contracts worth $466.3M

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CAIRO – 16 November 2019: The Egyptian Railway Authority (ERA) signed with PRL (Progress Rail Automotives) a number of contracts worth $466.3 million after a meeting with President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi that took place last week.

The American company will supply 50 train engines over 22 months, carry out long-term maintenance for 41 engines by June 30, and upgrade 50 others within 30 months since the conclusion of the deal. The company will also provide maintenance services and spare parts for those 141 train engines for 15 years. The value of contracts will be secured through soft loans, except for $27 million that will be paid by ERA’s treasury.

In July, ERA endorsed the technical specifications of two passenger railcars to be supplied by Transmashholding in September. Those are part of a contract to supply 1,300 railcars. One of the railcars will be tested in Hungary, so it will be granted the safety certification by the European Railway Agency. The other will be tested in Egypt. Afterwards, the first batch of railcars in the contract will be delivered in accordance with the timeline set by both parties.

The contract states that 650 railcars will be supplied from Hungary, 500 will be delivered by Russia, and 150 will be manufactured by Egypt under the supervision of Transmashholding. An Egyptian locomotive factory will be established as part of a plan to localize the locomotive industry in Egypt and transfer the know-how to workers, technicians, and engineers in the sector. The factory will produce the 150 railcars and also provide maintenance services.

The representatives of ERA and Transmashholding agreed to hold further visits and meetings to study the possibility of cooperation in rail infrastructure, mobile rail, workshops, new lines, and maintenance of existing railcars.

In the same month, an official source told Egypt Today that ERA needs 12 rail test machines to detect and repair defects in railroads revealing that contracts to purchase eight of those are being finalized.

Also Read: Meet Mariatheresa S. Kadushi, Founder of M-afya, A Mobile App Providing Health Information In Native Languages In Africa

ERA will receive four rail test machines worth €8.5 million by the end of 2020 supplied by an Austrian company with which a contract was signed a few months ago. The machines will enable the authority to better diagnose defects in the railroads which would increase the safety, and inhibit derailment accidents.

Egypt Today

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Venture Capital for Africa Launches First Dedicated Online Training Program for Africa’s Business Angels

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Mentor-Driven Capital has a critical role to play in supporting Africa’s entrepreneurs

CAPE TOWN, South Africa, November 15, 2019- 10 free training modules boost ability of participants to become high-powered mentors and savvy business angels; Mentor-Driven Capital has a critical role to play in supporting Africa’s entrepreneurs.

Over the past two years, VC4A has successfully implemented Mentor-Driven Capital programs in Nairobi, Lagos, Abuja, Cairo and Hargeisa, bringing together aspiring business angels and connecting them with promising startups. Based on learnings presented and gathered, as well as video interviews done with experienced mentors and mentees, VC4A has now launched an online course on ‘Mentor-Driven Capital’.

Many startup ecosystem studies across Africa have shown that there are limited local (angel) funding sources as well as a lack of well-developed mentorship networks in most African cities. This is why VC4A, with its local partners, has designed a program that addresses both topics at the same time.

Any startup requires cash to operate, but it is the application of capital in smart ways that secures greater impacts and returns on investments. Mentor-Driven Capital has a critical role to play in supporting the continent’s entrepreneurs. It is also where a good local business angel can make the difference between venture failure, survival and success.

First dedicated online training program designed for Africa’s business angels

According to VC4A CEO, Ben White: “Since VC4A’s offline programs can only reach a limited number of participants, we’ve decided to create an online course that captures much of the content of the recent mentor-focused work. Anyone who is interested can now take advantage of the first dedicated training program designed for African business professionals keen to guide Africa’s up-and-coming entrepreneurs to success.”

Also Read: Meet Mariatheresa S. Kadushi, Founder of M-afya, A Mobile App Providing Health Information In Native Languages In Africa

The goal of this course is to boost the ability of participants to become high-powered mentors that support entrepreneurs while also learning to think and act like savvy business angels. Participants receive expert guidance, training, and hands-on support. The things aspiring mentors need to bring to the table are their valuable time, knowledge and networks.

Course structure

The course is divided into ten modules. Each module is introduced by a presenter and accompanied by short clips where experts share their opinions about the same topic. The modules are:

– Introduction to Mentor-Driven Capital

– Becoming a business mentor

– Structuring the mentor relationship

– Investing your time

– Investing your network

– The angel investor mindset

– Developing an investment strategy

– Investing your money

– Common startup challenges

– Tips for success

GET STARTED TODAY! Visit: http://bit.ly/2Qq0xx1

Venture Capital for Africa (VC4A)

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