Report 2SCALE conference: ‘Food for thought: Made in Africa, for Africa!’

How African entrepreneurs in agriculture and food create commercial and social impact

This report was published on the website of 2SCALE

On October 27th the 2SCALE consortium organized the conference ‘Food for thought: Made in Africa, for Africa!’ in The Hague. The event focused on inclusive agribusiness and food security in Africa and highlighted various successful African agribusiness. 2SCALE is one of the largest agribusiness incubators in Africa, working in 8 countries with 327.679 smallholder farming families, 1.242 SMEs and with private sector contributions with a value of €21 million. The 2SCALE consortium consists of ICRA, IFDC and BoPInc and is supported by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Seven CEOs of successful African food enterprises shared their stories, their visions, and their dreams. These entrepreneurs are champions in the 2SCALE program and managed to establish agri and food enterprises with public and corporate partners from the Netherlands. We invited the CEOs of AACE Foods (Nigeria), Psaltry International (Nigeria), Promo Fruits (Benin), Fruittiland (Ghana), Acila (Uganda), GUTS Agro (Ethiopia) and Shalem Investments (Kenya) to present their business cases and highlight the factors underlying their success: well-organized smallholder cooperatives, improved farming methods to improve quality and yields, proper distribution and sales channels, and innovative consumer products. 

Above all, these entrepreneurs managed to share their visions with the people around them and to create trust which convinced farmers and other entrepreneurs in the supply chain to collaborate. The trust was not betrayed. On the contrary, commercial success is being connected with social impact: nearly 40% of the SMEs in the 2SCALE program is managed by women. More than 1,600 companies are buying produce from, selling agricultural inputs to, or providing services to small-scale farmers. More than 265,000 smallholder farmers have improved crop yields, income and family nutrition. Nearly 30 percent of these farmers are women. The average net income of these 265,000 farmers has increased by 30%. 

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The inspiring stories and innovative businesses of the seven entrepreneurs that have shared their dreams, ideas, successes and concerns revealed that 2SCALE is a concrete and successful example of the so-called ‘Dutch Diamond Approach’ in which Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) play a major role in implementing development cooperation policy. PPPs are partnerships between the government, the private sector, research institutions and civil society organizations. All of these were represented during the conference and particularly the prominent involvement and interest of the private sector was striking.

The African 2SCALE entrepreneurs have provided the proof of the pudding of PPPs in the agri and food business. The next step will be to amplify their businesses, to find additional business partners and to replicate the most successful models to other countries and regions. The entrepreneurs are in the driver’s seat, partners from the private sector and government are invited to jump on the train and provide energy and mass to the African agri and food sector.

Read the full report here.