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IFC Support for Country Bird’s Expansion Encourages Agribusiness, Employment in Southern Africa

Posted on 03 May 2013 by Africa Business

About IFC

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. We help developing countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, mobilizing capital in international financial markets, and providing advisory services to businesses and governments. In FY12, our investments reached an all-time high of more than $20 billion, leveraging the power of the private sector to create jobs, spark innovation, and tackle the world’s most pressing development challenges. For more information, visit


WASHINGTON, May 3, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today announced a convertible loan of $25 million to support poultry producer Country Bird’s expansion in Africa. IFC’s investment will allow Country Bird to increase production and operations; encouraging a thriving agribusiness enterprise and creating employment opportunities in Southern Africa and beyond.


With operations including South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Zambia, Country Bird’s business comprises poultry breeding, broiler production, stock feed, and processing. IFC funding will support Country Bird increase chick production over the next three years in Zambia and Botswana, expand feed mill capacity in Zambia, and add poultry processing facilities and two soybean plants in South Africa.


Country Bird’s expansion will provide more affordable proteins in Southern Africa, create jobs in the rural areas where the company operates, and increase revenues for its 21,500 maize farmers and 112,000 workers employed through the company’s supply chain.


Kevin James, Founder of Country Bird, said “In just a decade since we started operations, Country Bird has become the third largest integrated poultry producer in South Africa. We are seeking to expand our production, so we can meet increasing consumer demand in the region. IFC’s investment supports Country Bird’s growth and our goal to provide more affordable proteins in Southern Africa.”


With increasing urbanization and disposable incomes, per capita meat consumption is expected to double in Africa by 2030, particularly that of poultry, which is cheaper relative to other meats.


Saleem Karimjee, IFC Senior Country Manager for Southern Africa, said, “IFC is committed to investing in companies like Country Bird that catalyze growth in this important sector. Africa needs dynamic regional agribusiness companies that help encourage competitiveness and can expand successful models outside their home markets.”



Agriculture accounts for one third to one half of GDP in most African countries, and 80 percent of the poor in Africa live in rural areas.

Promoting agribusiness in Africa is a key priority for IFC as is food security, given that the sector employs a large percentage of Africa’s labor force, and has a strong impact on micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.




International Finance Corporation (IFC) – The World Bank

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Posted on 23 April 2013 by Africa Business

BP today announced plans to invest in excess of R5 billion in South Africa and Mozambique over the next five years in new and on-going infrastructure upgrade projects to improve business efficiency and assist Government’s objectives to enhance energy security and enable the transition to cleaner fuels.

During a visit to South Africa today, Iain Conn, BP Group Managing Director and Chief Executive of Refining and Marketing, said that BP was committed to pursuing operations and investments across Africa. In Upstream, BP is pursuing opportunities in Angola, Algeria, Namibia, Libya and Egypt. In Downstream, beyond today’s announcement about South Africa, BP is also making investments to improve and upgrade the fuel import infrastructure in neighbouring Mozambique.

In South Africa, an investment of close to R5 billion will be spent on various projects across the BP Fuels Value Chain including refinery, terminal and retail network assets. This is a sign of BP’s growing confidence in the South African economy as an attractive investment destination especially after the adoption of the National Development Plan (NDP) as the road map for the country.

Mr Conn stated that around half the investment will be spent in upgrading and modernising the refinery infrastructure at Sapref, a joint venture with Shell. The infrastructure upgrade will primarily be to comply with South Africa’s proposed clean fuels requirements.

In February 2013, the South African Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan undertook to announce the support mechanism for biofuels and upgrade of refineries to encourage South Africa to produce cleaner fuels which are environmentally friendly.

“We anticipate that the remuneration mechanism will be finalised shortly as we have already started to invest in the project and our intent is to be ready to produce clean fuels in 2017,” said Mr Conn.

Part of the R5 billion investment is aimed at building and upgrading terminals to world-class facilities that are leading the industry in terms of safety, operational integrity and technology. BP’s investment will also ensure greater security of supply. An example of this investment is the new and recently-commissioned facility built in partnership with Sasol at Alrode outside Johannesburg. Once completed, this terminal will be the most modern and technologically advanced in Africa with high safety management systems and standards.

BP’s retail network will benefit from the announced investment which will improve customer experience. The conversion to a “best in class” convenience retail offering, in partnership with Pick n Pay, will see 120 Pick n Pay Express stores opened in the next five years across South Africa. Coupled with improvements to the BP Express convenience offering, the fuel forecourts will be upgraded with a standardised look.

Iain Conn emphasised that BP’s commitment is not only about the capital and commercial investment, it is also about being part of a South African community and continuing to contribute to the improvement of people’s lives through a focused transformation programme aligned with Government’s goal to create jobs, develop skills and build entrepreneurs, as well as achieve sustainable economic growth.

“This is part of our on-going efforts to be a good corporate citizen as we pursue our business objectives in all the markets in which we operate”, said Mr Conn.

BP has been at the forefront of transformation over a number of years. In 2001, BP became one of the first companies to form an empowerment initiative and this has resulted in cash pay-outs to BEE shareholders to the tune of R300 million.

Subsequently, Masana, a joint venture between BP and its BEE partners, was formed in 2005. This has been one of South Africa’s empowerment success stories which has doubled its growth since inception.

BP continues on pioneering the transformation journey with the latest hydrocarbon (crude oil) procurement initiative which invited and encouraged local previously disadvantaged enterprises to participate in a tender process.

A long standing support for skills development and quality education continues to be at the cornerstone of BP’s involvement in high school enrichment programmes, artisan to PhD support programmes, and general industry skills development for the previously disadvantaged. To this end, BP, as part of the South African Petroleum Industry Association (SAPIA), is involved in an industry-wide skills development initiative that will culminate in a Petroleum Institute which will assist the Southern Africa region.

Mr Conn reiterated that “the investments we are making in South Africa are not only a sign of confidence in the policy direction the country is taking, but they are also our commitment to all South Africans through the successful development of the energy infrastructure, market and associated skills and opportunities.”

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South Africa’s mobile money industry remains innovative and diverse

Posted on 22 April 2013 by Africa Business

Mobile Money Africa returns to Johannesburg in May

South Africa remains one of the most diverse regions in Africa for its proliferation of successful mobile money business models being championed by banks, MNOs (mobile network operators), third party providers and retailers.  This is according to Emma Pearce, director of the upcoming, annual Mobile Money Africa conference and exhibition, which will again gather the continent’s leading industry experts in Johannesburg from 28-29 May.

Says Emma:  “We have seen some of the most compelling mobile payments case studies come from South Africa and the market continues to reinvent itself and innovate its offerings.  Johannesburg is the perfect backdrop for Mobile Money Africa, as it is one of the foremost economic hubs of Southern Africa: a melting pot of business models and market leaders.  The event will challenge preconceptions regarding mobile money in Africa and introduce innovators driving the marketplace forward.”

South Africa is a tough market
Brian Richardson, WIZZIT CEO, and a mobile money industry pioneer from South Africa tells us that a recent development which has been “incredibly exciting” is the level of interest from banks in emerging markets.  He explains:  “up until now, the stance of many banks has been to wait and see and as we are all aware, they have had many other pressing priorities to address.  There is an enormous amount of ‘noise’ in the mobile banking space and a lot of unsubstantiated hype which causes confusion for everyone.”

He continues:  “South Africa is a tough market – dominated by four very large and very powerful entities.  It is also an interesting market in that not only has the market grown up with a card paradigm, but South Africa has a very well developed card acquiring infrastructure.  This is not typically the case in other emerging markets where the opportunity of leap frogging the card paradigm is very much more real.  A mobile acquiring infrastructure for a start can be deployed at a fraction of the cost.”

Mobile always supported by card
Brian believes that in South Africa mobile will always be supported by card (or vice versa) “but as one entity will vouch for, it will be very difficult to ignore card totally.  We have believed that the two channels can work together.  According to Finscope, the number of people using mobile banking has almost doubled in the past year which is very encouraging indeed.  By contrast, the number of people using internet banking increased by 1%.  The challenge in South Africa remains at the unbanked level and much work remains to be done.  Mobile can certainly play a role in this.”

Brian is a speaker at the Mobile Money Africa event which will bring together some 400 industry leaders from the entire spectrum of the industry, including retailers, regulators, banks, MNOs, microfinance institutions, donor agencies and NGOs to discuss collaboration, moving the market forward and the different business models for the industry.

Says the WIZZIT CEO:  “at the end of the day, the product or service offering has to meet the needs and demands of the market; it has to be affordable; and it has to meet the financial and strategic objectives of the service provider.  There are still today question marks as to the business case around mobile money but there is no doubt about the potential in the industry.  Mobile banking has proved over the last few years that it has a place and that it is here to stay.”

More programme highlights at Mobile Money Africa this year:

· Betty Mwangi-Thuo, Chief Officer – New Products, Safaricom

· Habil Olaka, CEO, Kenya Bankers Association

· Albert Matongela, Leader – Southern Africa Development Community Bankers Association Payment Project (SADC BA Payment Project), FNB Namibia

· Francis Matseketsa, EcoCash Executive, Econet Services

· Ngoni Simelane, Head: Technology & Innovation; Beyond Payments, Standard Bank

· Eli Hini, Mobile Money Commercial Senior Manager, MTN Ghana

· Vanesha Palani, Head: Channel Management; Nedbank Digital, Nedbank

· Lowell Campbell, Branchless/Agent Banking, Standard Bank Africa

· Yolande van Wyk, CEO – eWallet Solutions, FNB Retail

· Charles Inwani, Regional Cash And Voucher Programme Officer, United Nations World Food Programme (WFP)

Event dates:

Mobile Money Academy pre-conference workshop:  27 May
Conference days:  28-29 May
Post conference site visit:  30 May

Location: Hyatt Regency Hotel, Johannesburg, South Africa


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US agriculture aims to strengthen SA trade

Posted on 22 April 2013 by Africa Business

A US agricultural trade mission met South African food industry delegates in Sandton this week for talks on developing trade relations between South African and US food producers.

According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), in 2012, the United States imported $285 million worth of South African agricultural products, led by wine, macadamia nuts, citrus fruit and other consumer-oriented food products. Interestingly, South Africa’s imports of agricultural products from the United States in the same period totalled almost the same value at $287 million, led by intermediate goods for further processing locally and consumer-oriented food products. “Diversifying our respective food baskets has been mutually beneficial, says Ross Kreamer, Minister Counsellor for Agricultural Affairs, USDA.

During a seminar entitled “Diversifying the Southern Africa Food Basket,” delegates addressed local importers, wholesalers, traders, retailers, hoteliers, restaurateurs, NGOs, institutional feeding organisations, food industry professionals and government representatives. Organisers introduced the audience to members of the USDA’s Global Based Initiative, which includes some of the US’s leading food trade associations: American Peanut Council; US Dry Bean Council; US Dry Pea & Lentil Council; US Potato Board; and the World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WiSHH).

Aiming to increase trade with Southern Africa, the mission highlighted the high nutritional value and relatively low cost of soya, peanut, dry bean, peanut and lentil and dried potato products. They also noted the US growers’ ability to supply quality, cost-effectiveness, and a reliable, uninterrupted supply from a politically-stable nation.

Highlighting the nutritional value of their products, the representatives of leading food trade associations explored local needs and noted that their foodstuffs and food ingredients presented a strong value proposition in addressing malnutrition in sub-Saharan Africa.  These organizations work closely with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to establish strong trade links.

Jim Hershey, Executive Director of the World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH), said world demand for soy has doubled in the last 15 years, with China, the country of origin of the plant, being the single largest importer. “South Africa has almost tripled its soybean production in the last ten years, but is still a net importer of soybean protein.”

Hershey noted that stunting rates, a strong indicator of chronic under-nutrition and protein deficient diets, are very high in Southern Africa. “Even South Africa’s stunting rate is greater than 20%, and probably higher in rural communities. With availability and affordability of protein being key factors contributing to stunting, Hershey pointed to the products represented at the conference as good sources for food. For example, South Africa is a leader, both in Africa and the whole world (outside of Asia), in the use of soy in local diets.

Cade Fields-Gardner, Nutrition Consultant for the US Potato Board, said in addition to a wide range of commercial uses, dehydrated potato products have been included in humanitarian and development efforts in emergency/disaster relief and school feeding programs. The potential value of US dehydrated potato products for the food industry in South Africa and the regions lay in addressing the nutritional health of young children in South Africa, where both undernutrition and overnutrition are current concerns, said Fields-Gardener.

Chris Goldthwait, consultant to the American Peanut Council said commercial sales of peanuts and peanut butter to Africa (not including countries that fall into the Middle East region) was about $11 million dollars in 2012 from nearly zero only a few years ago. “This was mostly in the form of high value processed peanuts and peanut butter,” he said. “It should be noted this was for 2012 – during which the US experienced its worst peanut crop ever harvested. We expect 2013 to be better.” Goldthwait noted that peanuts are high in important vitamins and micronutrients, containing nearly half the 13 basic vitamins, especially Vitamin E. “In fact, peanuts are the basic ingredient in Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF)and Ready to Use Supplementary Foods. “Peanut-based RUTF has the very best weight gain results for children under two suffering from severe, acute malnutrition,” he said.

Johanna Stobbs, the official representative in Europe, Turkey, Russia and sub-Saharan Africa of the USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council, noted that pulses including dry peas, lentils and chickpeas are excellent sources of protein, fiber and other essential nutrients. Stobbs said: “We are working with a highly nutritious, low-cost food, grown in perfect conditions. US dry peas and lentils are totally natural, non-GMO, pure and clean – offering good health and nutrition.”

The US Department of Agriculture reports that 2012 US exports to South Africa of dry peas, lentils and chickpeas rose to 9,340 MT, a massive increase of 170% over 2011. Dry peas are currently being sought after by South African canners because they are a nutritious and cost-effective alternative to fresh peas, Stobbs said.

The US Dry Bean Council’s Regional representative, David McClellan, said the United States on an average produces 1.2 million MT/yr of dry beans and exports between 300,000 and 450,000 MT/yr.  He said: “The US is well known among canners and packagers around the world for its wide range of high quality dry beans.  Dry beans are also popular for use in food aid operations, especially in Africa where dry beans are a traditional staple as well as being economical, nutritious and easy to store and transport.”

A relatively new dry bean product, pre-cooked dry bean flours have a range of applications in the bakery, snacks and meat industries, he said, as a product which can improve taste, texture and nutritional value.




American Peanut Council;

· Peanuts contain one-third of the 20 most needed minerals

· Peanuts are the basic ingredient in Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) and Ready to Use Supplementary Foods

· Peanut-based RUTF has the very best weight gain results for children under two suffering from severe, acute malnutrition.

· Peanuts are moving off the “don’t eat” lists of weight-loss diets. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 recommend foods like peanuts because they are high protein packages that include healthy fats and nutrients like dietary fibre, potassium, folate, vitamin E, thiamin, and magnesium. Research shows that frequent peanut eaters do not gain weight when following a healthy diet and replacing less healthy fats and snacks with peanuts.

· Peanuts are high in fat, but the majority of this fat is known to be heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, such as that found in olive oil.

· Peanuts are also an ingredient in other compound foods, including

*Peanut oil:  valued by chefs because it is tasteless and odorless, as well as being high in desirable monounsaturated fatty acids

* Peanut flour:  valued for flavor, as a gluten-free flour, and for its thickening properties


World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WiSHH).

· Soy is a healthy, cost effective and functional protein source. It is the only complete vegetable protein source.

  • Soybeans are a complete protein source for children and adults, providing the essential amino acids required for proper human growth and development.

· The health benefits of soy include cholesterol reduction, reduced risk of prostate cancer, improved bone preservation, reduced blood pressure, improved kidney function and reduced effects of menopause in women.

  • Soy protein and calories can help to prevent body wasting often associated with HIV/AIDS.

· In baking, the addition of soy flour to wheat flour enhances the protein content and the amino acid balance in the food, as well as increasing profitability for the baker. Water absorption by soy flour plus retention of moisture during baking (decreased bake loss) results in a greater yield that translates into increased product sales.


US Potato Board;

· One medium-size potato has just 110 calories and is fat-, sodium and cholesterol free

· One medium potato with skin provides 620 milligrams or 18% of the recommended daily value (DV) of potassium, 45% of the DV of vitamin C, 2 grams or 8% of the DV of fibre, 10% of the DV of vitamin B6, and 6% of the DV of iron.

· Potatoes provide one of the most concentrated and affordable sources of potassium. Research suggests that diets rich in potassium and low in sodium reduce the risk of hypertension and stoke. Potassium also plays an essential role in the response of nerves to stimulation and in the contraction of muscles, including the heart muscle.


US Dry Bean Council;

· Unlike meat-based proteins, beans are naturally low in fat, free of saturated and trans-fat, and are a cholesterol-free source of protein.

· Bean consumption reduces the risks of chronic diseases including colon cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

· Regular consumption of beans can improve child nutrition and child survival, and may also slow the progression of HIV/AIDS.

· Beans are a source of folate, an important nutrient during pregnancy.


USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council;

· Also known as pulses, dry peas, lentils and chickpeas (garbanzo beans) deliver protein, fibre and other essential nutrients such as iron, zinc, potassium and magnesium.

· Pulses are nutrient sense and gluten-free, with low allergen and low glycemic responses.

· Pulses contain fewer calories and considerably more fibre and protein than whole grains such as white or brown rice.

· Consuming pulses may reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and obesity.

Issued by ITP Communications (editorial contact South Africa)

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US Food Seminar to Explore Diversifying the Southern African Food Basket

Posted on 08 April 2013 by Africa Business

On Thursday, 18 April 2013, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and a consortium of U.S. food and ingredient producers will host a food seminar in Sandton.


The half-day seminar, called “Diversifying the Southern Africa Food Basket,” will address attendees on the opportunities to address nutrition needs in Southern Africa and developing value chains in the regional market with US food and ingredient suppliers. Invitees include local importers, wholesalers, traders, retailers, hoteliers, restaurateurs, NGOs, institutional feeding organisations, food industry professionals and government representatives.


The seminar will introduce this audience to members of the USDA’s Global Based Initiative, which includes some of the US’s leading food trade associations: American Peanut Council; US Dry Bean Council; USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council; US Potato Board; and the World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WiSHH).


Anita Florido, Regional Representative, Africa of WiSHH, explains: “The seminar will offer an informative and constructive look at the state of the region’s nutritional affairs and the benefits of commercial and non-commercial trade with the US food industry.  For-profit food companies and non-governmental organisations can meet key players from abroad and develop agreements in their mutual interest.”


In procuring food products for both commercial and non-commercial distribution, manufacturing and consumption, the key concerns buyers are faced with include product quality; cost-effectiveness; reliable, uninterrupted supply (from a politically-stable nation); and the long-term sustainability of both product and the relationship. The American organizations participating in the seminar will use this opportunity to discover local attendees’ needs, develop ways to add value to the bottom line for commercial participants and to aid food organisations in addressing the region’s still-prevalent issues of hunger, malnutrition and stunting.


The seminar, which starts with registration and an exploration of the literature and resources featured in the Marketplace exhibition, will be opened at 08:30 by Mr. Ross Kreamer, Minister Counsellor for Agricultural Affairs, USDA, Southern Africa, followed by remarks from Mr. Jim Hershey, Executive Director, WiSHH. Presentations will follow by local experts as well as those representing the US co-operators.


Local speakers include Prof. Hettie Schonfeldt of the University of Pretoria who will speak on “Opportunities to address nutrition needs in Southern Africa” and Dr John Purchase of Agribiz SA who will address “Developing Value Chains in Southern Africa.”


The event’s US co-operators will, in turn, offer insights into the nutritional and economic benefits of food products including peanuts; soy; potatoes; dry beans; dry peas; lentils and chickpeas. Their topics include: Peanuts, Natural Health Food for All; Dry Beans for Food Assistance, Development and Commerce; US Dry Peas, Delicious Food, Nutritious Food Ingredient; Adding Value to Products with Dehydrated Potatoes; and The Power of Soy: A Healthy, Cost Effective and Functional Protein Source.


Seminar attendees will enjoy a mid-morning “Taste of USA” break, with healthy snacks made from US food and ingredients and the opportunity to again explore the Marketplace.


The seminar is open to all local members of the food industry, but space is limited. Interested parties should contact Lindi Coetzer on +27 11 486 0585 or via email at

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Regional Seminar on the Implementation and Promotion of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: Discrimination in the context of the Right to Food in Southern Africa

Posted on 29 March 2013 by Africa Business

LILONGWE, Malawi /African Press Organization (APO)/ Around 60 experts from governments, civil society, national human rights institutions, as well as the agricultural sector will meet from 3 to 4 April 2013 in Lilongwe, Malawi, to discuss concrete measures to respect, protect and fulfil the right to food in the sub-region. Experts from Belgium, Norway, the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and other UN agencies will also attend.


The Regional Office for Southern Africa of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights is convening the meeting in close cooperation with the Government of Malawi, the United Nations Country Team in Malawi, and the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, with the financial support of the Flemish Government (Belgium) and the Royal Norwegian Embassy.


The objective of the seminar is to facilitate an exchange of experiences and lessons learned related to the implementation of the right to food, and to increase awareness of the right to food and of existing implementation tools in the sub-region. The seminar is in follow-up to the recommendations made at a sub-regional expert seminar on economic, social and cultural rights held in Maputo, Mozambique, in December 2011, and takes into account the findings of the expert consultations on the right to food convened by the Special Rapporteur on the right to food in Nairobi, Kenya, in April 2012.


The regional seminar seeks to pool experiences and build knowledge on the implementation of the right to food and human rights-based approaches to tackling hunger and food and nutrition insecurity in Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.


In recent years, several countries in Southern Africa have been adopting constitutional provisions as well as national framework laws, strategies, policies and programmes to strengthen the protection of the right to food, and are leading the way at the global level. These institutional developments are vital and serve to clarify that “fighting hunger and malnutrition is not merely a charitable cause but rather a matter of empowering people to claim their rights and to hold Governments accountable”, as mentioned by the Special Rapporteur on the right to food.




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SATH initiative to focus on minimizing groundnut aflatoxin contamination

Posted on 16 March 2013 by Wallace Mawire

by Wallace Mawire




The Southern Africa Trade Hub (SATH) is planning to partner with organizations in need of technical assistance along the groundnut value chain to minimize risk of aflatoxin contamination, according to a SATH spokesperson.
According to SATH, groundnuts are one of Southern Africa’s most important crops, but contamination by the carcinogenic fungus aflatoxin has become a public health issue and a significant barrier to trade. Risks associated with the fungus include liver cancer, impaired growth for children under five and suppression of the immune system.

“Shipments of groundnuts with aflatoxin levels over 4 parts per billion cannot be sold. Consignments are tested for aflatoxin levels prior to export and are rejected if they fail, damaging exports, undermining food security and lowering farmer profits. The trade losses attributed to aflatoxin contamination overall are US$1.2 billion globally and US$450 million per annum across Africa,” SATH says.

In response, the Southern Africa Trade Hub reports that it has devised a system of interventions applicable at critical points along the groundnut value chain to decrease the risk of aflatoxin contamination. The Hub says it is partnering with organizations in need of technical assistance to put these methods into widespread practice.

Post-Harvest Interventions:

·        Infield drying/ curing

·        On farm storage

·        Stripping

·        Pre-sheller grading

·        Buying incentives

·        Transport and warehouses

·        Mechanical shelling

·        Sorting

·        Blanching

·        Oil Extraction and filtering

·        Detoxification of peanut meal

·        Packaging, transport and storage

·        Aflatoxin testing

In November 2012  the Trade Hub reports that it rolled out an “Aflatoxin Roadshow” to educate traders, processors and farmers’ unions on effective methods to reduce contamination.
In collaboration with Twin, a UK-based NGO, the Hub educated value chain actors on improved post-harvest handling practices to prevent the growth of aflatoxin and protect the market value of this important crop.

The roadshow is reported to have  made stops in Lilongwe, Malawi; Napula, Mozambique; and Lusaka, Zambia.
It was attended by 94 participants, including groundnut exporters and importers, farmer associations, NGOs, research institutions, government officials and processors.
“Via these attendees, the information has the potential to reach four exporters in the region, 520 affiliate associations, 130,000 farmers and to impact 20,000MT of groundnut production valued at US$16 million in Zambia, Mozambique and Malawi,” SATH says.

The roadshow is said to have presented the results from last year’s joint study between the Trade Hub and Twin on aflatoxin mitigation measures and focused on critical control points such as field drying, shelling and bagging for storage.

Through the roadshow and other measures, the Trade Hub is acting as a catalyst to encourage cooperation among all the players of the groundnut value chain, which will help transform the industry and increase smallholder farm earnings.
“With collaboration, the industry can obtain the support it needs for significant growth: including financing, a certified laboratory for testing and central collection points for mechanical shelling,” SATH says.

The roadshow was co-sponsored by USAID’s Feed the Future programs Profit+ in Zambia, AgriFuturo in Mozambique and INVC in Malawi.
The workshops will be followed up with a strategy to accelerate adoption of aflatoxin-reduction strategies by producer organizations in order to help Zambia, Mozambique, and Malawi become trusted sources of peanuts, increasing demand and encouraging exports to regional and international markets.

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Minister for Trade and Development Joe Costello begins visit to Tanzania, South Africa, and Mozambique

Posted on 11 March 2013 by Africa Business

DUBLIN, Ireland, March 11, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ The Minister for Trade and Development, Joe Costello T.D., today (Sunday) begins an official visit to Tanzania, South Africa and Mozambique to see at first hand the impact of Ireland’s development programme and explore ways that Ireland can assist African partners to grow their economies and exit from aid dependency.

As part of Ireland’s EU Presidency, the Minister will also chair the EU-Southern African Development Community Political Dialogue in Mozambique.

Speaking ahead of his visit, Minister Costello said:

“Ireland’s aid programme is internationally recognised as one of the best in the world. Our aid is rigorously focused on reducing poverty; eradicating hunger; helping children to survive their first year and go to school and ensuring that families have food to eat and clean water to drink. The Irish people, through Irish Aid, are making a difference in the lives of some of the world’s poorest people. However, we also need to look to a future after aid and how to grow trade between Ireland and Africa as the lasting solution for Africa’s problems is growing the domestic economy.”

In Tanzania, Minister Costello will visit health centres and schools to see how Ireland’s support for health, education and nutrition programmes is making a difference on the ground. He will also launch a milk dairy market hub, visit a rural electrification project operated by ESBI and visit Dar es Salaam port.

Minister Costello said:

“Infant mortality has fallen by a third since 2005 in Tanzania. Ireland has played a role in reducing the number of children who die in childbirth through our support to the health sector. Development is working in Africa.”

“We also have to look to the next phase when our development partners will be our markets and trading partners. I look forward to visiting Irish commercial projects and meeting with the Irish and local business community to discuss how we can continue to increase the trade volumes between Ireland and Tanzania. It is only through growing two-way trade that we will help African countries reduce their dependence on aid. I would encourage all Irish companies to look to the potential of the African market.”

Secondly, Minister Costello will visit South Africa, which is a priority market under the Government’s Trade Strategy. Irish exports to South African amount to almost €1bn annually.

In South Africa, Minister Costello will host meetings with members of Business Ireland Southern Africa (BISA), the Ireland – South Africa Business Association (ISABA), Enterprise Ireland and prominent members of the South Africa business community. He will also attend St Patrick’s Day events in Johannesburg and Cape Town. Cape Town’s iconic Table Mountain will also be turned green for St Patrick’s Day.

Minister Costello said:

“South Africa is the gateway in terms of trade for the Southern African region. I led a trade mission to South Africa last year, and this visit is to follow-up on that trade mission. I will be meeting with business leaders to see how best the Government can support Irish companies trying to enter into the South African market.”

“I am also delighted that Table Mountain will turn green during my visit. The global celebration of our national day is a unique way to sell Ireland Inc. Africa’s two most famous sites – the Pyramids and Table Mountain – will turn green for St Patrick’s Day”.

Finally in Mozambique, Minister Costello will chair the EU-Southern African Development Community (SADC) Political Dialogue as part of Ireland’s EU Presidency. The Minister will lead the EU delegation at the meeting, which will discuss trade liberalisation and the EU’s political relationship with the Southern African Development Community.

In Mozambique, Minister Costello will also see how Ireland’s targeted programmes support the poorest families to access education, basic healthcare and improve their livelihoods. Ireland also works to improve the capacity of the private sector to provide jobs and economic opportunities.



Ireland – Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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Africa’s Agriculture and Agribusiness Markets Set to Top US$ One Trillion in 2030

Posted on 06 March 2013 by Africa Business

  • Africa has the potential to create a trillion-dollar food market
  • But farmers need better access to help them grow and trade their products
  • A new report outlines challenges and solutions to Africa’s Agriculture and Agribusiness sectors

WASHINGTON –A new World Bank report “Growing Africa: Unlocking the Potential of Agribusiness,” says that Africa’s farmers and agribusinesses could create a trillion-dollar food market by 2030 if they can expand their access to more capital, electricity, better technology and irrigated land to grow high-value nutritious foods.  The report calls on governments to work side-by-side with agribusinesses, to link farmers with consumers in an increasingly urbanized Africa.

“The time has come for making African agriculture and agribusiness a catalyst for ending poverty,” says Makhtar Diop, World Bank Vice President for Africa Region. “We cannot overstate the importance of agriculture to Africa’s determination to maintain and boost its high growth rates, create more jobs, significantly reduce poverty, and grow enough cheap, nutritious food to feed its families, export its surplus crops, while safeguarding the continent’s environment.”

New Findings

Good prospects: Africa’s food and beverage markets are projected to reach $1 trillion by 2030. By way of comparison, the current size of the market is $313 billion, offering the prospect of a three-fold increase, bringing more jobs, greater prosperity, less hunger, and significantly more opportunity enabling African farmers to compete globally.

Performance boost needed: Africa’s agriculture and agribusinesses are underperforming.  Many developing countries such as Brazil, Indonesia, and Thailand now export more food products than all of Sub-Saharan Africa combined.  Even as export shares are falling, import of food products is rising.  The report argues that these adverse trends can be reversed through good policies, sustained public-private investment, and strong public-private partnerships backed by open, transparent procedures and processes along the entire value chain.

Untapped land and water: Africa has more than half of the world’s fertile yet unused land.  Africa uses only two percent of its renewable water resources compared to the global average of five percent.  Post-harvest losses run 15 to 20 percent for cereals and are higher for perishable products due to poor storage and other farm infrastructure.

While pointing to the need for significant investment in infrastructure the report carries an unequivocal warning: in the rush to allocate land for agribusiness, care needs to be taken so that acquisitions do not threaten people’s livelihoods and land purchases or leases are conducted according to ethical and socially responsible standards, including recognizing local users’ rights, holding consultations with local communities, and paying fair market-rate compensation for land acquired.

Adding Value

The report took an in-depth look at entire value chains – the process for taking products from farms to markets – for five commodities, rice, maize, cocoa, dairy and green beans.  Africa is the world’s leading importer and consumer of rice, paying US$3.5 billion for import bills. By increasing rice production, Senegal can help meet local demand but more capital is needed together with greater investment in irrigation and easing restrictions on access to land. Ghana, another top importer, produces more varieties of rice but at significantly higher cost.

“Improving Africa’s agriculture and agribusiness sectors means higher incomes and more jobs. It also allows Africa to compete globally. Today, Brazil, Indonesia and Thailand each export more food products than all of sub-Saharan Africa combined.  This must change,” says Jamal Saghir, World Bank Director for Sustainable Development in the Africa Region.

Success Story

Although much of Eastern and Southern Africa is well suited to dairy production, only Kenya has established a competitive dairy industry. Kenya’s industry is based partly on a formal sector for processed milk and other dairy products, but its dynamic informal sector (based mostly on raw milk) is even more important, supplying over 80 percent of the market. Kenya’s success largely comes from the entrepreneurship of smallholders’ who choose high milk-yielding cross-bred cattle, improved feeds and paid better attention to animal health.  Also, Kenya success points to the importance of improving linkages to the formal sector through cooperative milk collection and milk cooling centers. Even though challenges remain government policy, especially flexibility in setting quality and safety standards for the informal chain were vital.

Looking Ahead

The report says agriculture and agribusiness should be at the top of the development and business agenda in Sub-Saharan Africa. Strong leadership and commitment from both public and private sectors is needed.  For success, engaging with strategic “good practice” investors is critical, as is the need for strengthening of safeguards, land administration systems, and screening investments for sustainable growth.  Concluding on an upbeat note, the report says Africa can draw on many local successes to guide governments and investors toward positive economic, social and environmental outcomes.

“African farmers and businesses must be empowered through good policies, increased public and private investments and strong public-private partnerships,” says Gaiv Tata, World Bank Director for Financial and Private Sector Development in Africa.  “A strong agribusiness sector is vital for Africa’s economic future.”



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Mobile Money Africa returns to Johannesburg as industry remains dynamic

Posted on 04 March 2013 by Africa Business

Mobile Money Africa Awards launched to celebrate industry leaders


The fifth annual Mobile Money Africa will gather more than 400 industry leaders to discuss collaboration and moving the market forward when the conference and expo returns to Johannesburg from 28-29 May.


Mobile Money Africa 2013 brings together the entire spectrum of the industry, with retailers, regulators, banks, MNOs, microfinance institutions, donor agencies and NGOs who will be amongst the senior-level mobile money experts attending this market-leading event.


Multitude of opportunities
“There are a multitude of opportunities in the African mobile money industry at the moment and the industry as a whole has matured remarkably in recent years”, says Emily Martyr, Mobile Money Africa programme director.  “We see some enduring themes – like how to successfully monetise services, as well as the challenge of reducing risk and improving security.”

She continues:  “at the same time, the more developed mobile money markets in Africa such as South Africa and Kenya are seeing exciting, and increasingly sophisticated services emerging.  Consumers are responding well to new offerings like micro-finance and insurance policies via mobile, and there are also signs that new technologies like NFC will be gaining ground in the near future.”


Conference themes
The conference agenda for 2013 includes sessions on keeping pace with a changing mobile payments industry and business models for mobile payments in competitive markets.

Says Emily Martyr:  “we also look at how companies are successfully monetising new services and next generation technology as well as reducing risk and focusing on security.  Our industry stakeholders are all there to learn from each other and we have really interesting mobile money case studies, presentations on the roadmap for NFC payment implementations and discussions on what the next ‘game-changer’ services will be going forward.”


Mobile Money Awards Africa 2013
According to the Mobile Money Africa programme director, a definite event highlight this year will be that the prestigious Mobile Money Awards are coming to Africa.  Emily Martyr explains:  “for the first time the industry on the continent will also have the opportunity to recognise and reward the innovators in this market and nominate their peers.  The winners will be announced during an awards ceremony after the first day’s conference sessions on 28 May.  We are launching the nominations programme soon and all companies with a relevant mobile financial offering in Africa will be eligible to enter.  We look forward to honouring the brightest minds in this sector.”


Programme highlights at Mobile Money Africa this year:


  • Betty Mwangi-Thuo, Chief Officer – New Products, Safaricom
  • Habil Olaka, CEO, Kenya Bankers Association
  • Albert Matongela, Leader – Southern Africa Development Community Bankers Association Payment Project (SADC BA Payment Project), FNB Namibia
  • Francis Matseketsa, EcoCash Executive, Econet Services
  • Ngoni Simelane, Head: Technology & Innovation; Beyond Payments, Standard Bank
  • Eli Hini, Mobile Money Commercial Senior Manager, MTN Ghana
  • Vanesha Palani, Head: Channel Management; Nedbank Digital, Nedbank
  • Lowell Campbell, Branchless/Agent Banking, Standard Bank Africa
  • Yolande van Wyk, CEO – eWallet Solutions, FNB Retail
  • Charles Inwani, Regional Cash And Voucher Programme Officer, United Nations World Food Programme (WFP)


Event dates:

Mobile Money Academy pre-conference workshop:  27 May
Conference days:  28-29 May
Post conference site visit:  30 May

Location: Hyatt Regency Hotel, Johannesburg, South Africa


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