Deals worth Sh3.1Bn expected to be struck at the 6th Edition of Africa Agri Expo on 8th and 9th February 2023

Over 100 investors and potential business leads in the agriculture value chains from 35+ countries, are keen on setting up businesses and distribution set-ups in Kenya.

NAIROBI, Kenya, February 8th 2023 – Agriculture deals worth multi-million dollars will be struck in the next few days as investors throng the Kenyan capital for the 6th edition of Africa Agri Expo (AAE).

TAB Group Chief Executive Officer Tahir Bari said over 100 investors and potential business leads in the agriculture value chains from 35+ countries, are keen on setting up businesses in Kenya and East Africa.

“We have seen a lot of interest from investors in the Agricultural Value chains, some are coming to seek opportunities, others are coming to sign deals after successful discussions with Kenyan companies, a full figure of what will be signed isn’t very clear, but I am sure it will be more than $25 million (Sh3.1 billion),” Bari said during a press conference the opening ceremony in Nairobi.

The agricultural 2-day event – AAE 2023 from 8th February to 9th February at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC), is designed to provide solutions to Farmers, Agribusiness professionals, Agronomists, and Government representatives to improve their yields and revenue.

The event themed ‘A Gateway to Agribusiness in Africa‘ will highlight the advancements in technologies for the agriculture value chain, food security, nutrition, crop protection, water management, and ways to mitigate post-harvest losses in Africa through the sustainable use of machines and technology as well as boosting productivity and profitability of farmers.

“The investors come from different parts of the world that include the Middle East, Asia, Europe, and the USA with a keen interest in tackling major issues in the supply food chain by introducing new technologies to help the sector grow and become more attractive to the young people,” he added.

The agriculture sector contributes 51 percent of Kenya’s GDP (26 percent directly and 25 percent indirectly) and accounts for 60 percent of employment and 65 percent of exports according to the World Bank.

The sector is dominated by smallholder production on farms of between 0.2 and 3 hectares, which account for 78 percent of total agricultural production and 70 percent of commercial production.

Agricultural GDP is driven by horticulture and cash crops, but productivity is low, particularly for cereals. Given that most of the poor are in the agriculture sector, productivity also matters for poverty reduction.

“We are urging the youth to show up in big numbers and see new ways of farming, with new technologies that will be showcased at the event, We need to change the narrative that agriculture is for the old and the poor, there are many people earning a decent living in agriculture,” said Principal Secretary, Kello Harsama, State Department for Crop Development, Ministry of Agriculture & Livestock Development.

On her part, Agriculture Sector Network General Manager, Agatha Thuo noted there is low adoption of technology within the agricultural sector which is affecting productivity at the same time suppressing potential.

“Over 90 percent of the youth are exposed to agricultural technology but only 39 percent of them are using any form of agri-tech. Lack of access to innovation is also a major hindrance to the adoption of agriculture by the youth, we are excited that this expo is happening here in Kenya, opening up opportunities for the youth to take up the challenge,” she noted.

The World Bank projects that agriculture and agribusiness in Africa will grow to be a US$1 trillion industry in Africa by 2030. To promote this outcome, the continent must review its incentive structures.

The region holds about half of the world’s fertile and as-yet-unused land – and yet it spends US$25 billion annually importing food. It also uses only a tiny percentage of its renewable water resources.

 About the Africa Agri Expo 2023

“Africa Agri Expo” or “AAE” is a leading agriculture event in Africa – organized by TAB group, focused on gathering agriculture industry verticals like Agri-Technology, Food Security, Irrigation Solutions, Seeds, Agro Chemicals, Mechanization, Greenhouse, Post-Harvest, Storage and Distribution Solutions, Logistics and Transportation, Poultry, Dairy and Livestock, etc. for developing strategic dialogue and promoting agribusiness – targeting major African countries like Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Ghana, Rwanda, Ethiopia and more.

With less than a month remaining, the show has garnered participation from some of the popular brands of the industry like CENSA (a WayCool Enterprise), ESRI, Godrej Agrovet,  OCP Africa, Saudi Drip, Biostadt, Lushbury Fertilizers, CEVA Logistics, etc. and along with stakeholder organizations in Kenya like Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA), The Agriculture Sector Network (ASNET), KenInvest, Agrochemicals Associations of Kenya (AAK), IRRI,  International Institute of Tropical Agriculture – CGIAR, FAO, IFAD, etc. who will impart their experience and expertise to make Africa self-sufficient and achieve its SDG 2030 Goals.

L-R Peter Awin CoFounder & CEO Cow Tibe Ghana, Habtamu Abafoge Founder Simbona Africa, Ethiopia and Dr Robert Karanja CoFounder and Chief Innovation Officer at Villgro Africa, flip through the 7 Years of Impact investment Report highlighting Villgro’s input into 50 healthcare startups in Africa

Villgro Africa has made a significant impact on the healthcare sector in Kenya and Africa by investing in startups with the potential to create positive change and drive growth.

Opportunities for African and local investors to fund promising startups include a Biotech Innovation Hub and a $30 million fund

Nairobi 2 March 2023…Villgro Africa has invested over $2 million in 53 African healthcare startups over the last seven years. Now present in 10 African countries, and plans to set up a Biotech Innovation Hub, Villgro’s goal of transforming 30 million lives in Africa by 2030 is slowly becoming a reality.

According to Villgro’s 2015-2022 Impact Report which was launched at the 2023 Sankalp Africa Summit, over $2,146,401 committed since inception, have been well distributed to 53 health startups.  Out of these startups, 36 are Kenyan and have received the lion’s share of the incubator’s investments accounting for $1,317,087.

Ethiopia has also been a country to watch with Villgro investing in leading health startups such as  Simbona Africa, ($ 65,000 in 2017),  Kaffabio, BioTech $20,000, and  Lucy Enset  $ 20,000 in 2021.

A deliberate effort to ensure gender inclusion in Villgro’s impact investment work, saw Ghana’s women-led healthcare enterprises receive up to $50,000 invested as follows;  GAPhealth $20,000, Corporate Health Ghana  $15,000, MOCHcare $10,000 and Binyoh  for $5,000.

Wilfred Njagi, CEO and Co-Founder, Villgro Africa said, “Since inception, Villgro Africa has enabled access to healthcare to those at the bottom of the pyramid. In the past seven years, Villgro has steadily invested seed funding in social enterprises with homegrown solutions that solve Africa’s healthcare and lifestyle dilemmas. To date, these enterprises have generated revenues of over $5.2 million, generated 540 jobs and touched more than 2 million lives.”

“As we continue to scale, we are excited about the launch of a Biotech Innovation Hub that will create shared value by leveraging Africa’s genetic diversity to accelerate the development of drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics for the control and elimination of poverty-related diseases, rare diseases, neglected tropical diseases and NCDs,” explained Wilfred.

Dr. Robert Karanja, co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer at Villgro Africa said that local manufacturing in the healthcare sector presents an opportunity for startups and investors.

“With Africa’s population projected to hit 1.6 Billion people by 2030, coupled with a rising middle-income population, and the emergence of the double burden of disease due to lifestyle related diseases, investment in the healthcare sector is a no-brainer. Going forward, local sources of funding will be needed. Reduced international funding would allow African governments, corporates, and others to invest in the start-up ecosystem.”

To kick-start local investment into the sector, Villgro Africa has set its eyes on launching an Incubator-Fund Platform in partnership with Jaza Rift Fund, with a target fund size of $30 million, aimed at supporting startups graduating from the incubator.

This decision is informed by reports that estimate Africa’s healthcare market will be worth $259 billion by 2030; Africa will present 14% of health and wellbeing business opportunities, only second to North America which currently holds 21% of the opportunities.

L-R Habtamu Abafoge Founder Simbona, Villgro Africa CoFounders Dr Robert Karanja Chief Innovation officer and Wilfred Njagi CEO JPG.JPG

Rob Beyer, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman added, “As we celebrate 7 years of growth and impact, we are incredibly grateful for a pipeline of quality companies, for funders who believe in the vision, our board members and mentors who freely give of their time and expertise and our clients who entrust their plans to our team. 

Appreciating Villgro Africa’s partners, Wilfred said, “While most of Villgro’s strength has been in increasing equitable access to health care, especially to the most vulnerable groups, it is through our partners that we can attribute the last seven years of success.”

He concluded, “We sincerely thank all our stakeholders and partners who have walked this journey of transforming Africa’s Healthcare sector with us; AUDA NEPAD, Johnson & Johnson Foundation, AI4D (funded by IDRC & SIDA), Boehringer Ingelheim Social Engagement (BISE), among others. With all the support we have garnered to-date, we strongly believe that Villgro Africa is well positioned in mobilizing startup capital and technical assistance to where it’s most needed – to transform 30 million lives in Africa by 2030.”