Agribusiness Panels

The Food Challenge: Capturing Greater Value from Farm to Table

Burundian researcher, Janvier D. Nkurunziza, declared that Africa is in a state of “chronic dependency”, wherein countries are dependent on excessive exports of raw agricultural products, while simultaneously importing the majority of their consumer goods. This session brings together leaders who are confronting this challenge by developing Africa’s downstream agricultural process. We will explore how organizations leverage strategic partnerships to overcome barriers (including infrastructure, capital, labor, technology and energy constraints) and capture value for stakeholders.

Dr. Bharat Kulkarni, Founding Director, Stalwart Management Consultancy Services

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Dr. Bharat Kulkarni is Founding Director of Stalwart Management Consultancy Services, a consulting firm, working in the field of policy advisory and development of Agricultural Value chains and markets in Africa. He has worked for about a decade on various value chain development projects and Structured Markets initiative in Africa. Bharat worked for different reputed organizations like The United Nations till 2011. After 2011, he established his consulting firm and since, has been advising several high value investment projects of governments. His clients include agencies like Governments, The World Bank, USAID, IFC, Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa, and many others from Private Sector. Projects that he has worked on include policy and institutional development for market access projects through commodity exchange in Ethiopia, Malawi, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Egypt. He has also assisted government of Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia to develop export strategy for pulses, with focus on downstream products. In addition he has been helping several agribusiness investors to explore and invest in African agribusiness and commercial agriculture. Among the key assignments that he has handled includes setting up a commercial farmland investor, with more than 50,000 Hectare farmland in Ethiopia, Setting up a Agro Processing park, Establishing of a Sugar refinery, establishment of a Edible oil refinery etc. Recently, I have also established the Indo Africa Pulses Council to promote technology transfer and market access for African pulses sector. He is a PhD in Economics and has written two books, one on Agri risk Management and other on Commodity Markets and Derivatives.

Manka Angwafo, Managing Director Grassland Cameroon Ltd

Manka Angwafo is a young entrepreneur, creating businesses that address some of Africa’s development challenges. For the past four years, she has spearheaded a series of projects in education, media and agriculture. In her latest venture, she’s improving the value chain of smallholder corn farmers in Cameroon, Central Africa. A project she assessed, valued and has successfully raised seed funding to implement. Through all these projects, Ms. Angwafo has honed her ability to assess markets, identify product value-chains and supply chain bottlenecks, create business models and company valuations, as well as execute on these plans. Prior to this, she was a development professional at the Office of the Chief Economist for Africa, at the World Bank in Washington, DC. During this time, she co-authored a flagship report “Yes Africa Can: Success Stories form a Dynamic Continent,” and was a member of the pioneer team of the now bi-annual regional publication “Africa’s Pulse.” When not in rural Cameroon tending to her business, she enjoys traveling, playing tennis, and hiking.

Mira Mehta, CEO Tomato Jos

Mira Mehta attended Brown University, where she earned an NCAA Division I title in women’s rowing in 2004, and graduated with an honors degree in Community Health in 2006. After graduating, she joined BlackRock, a leading asset manager, as an analyst on a marketing and business development team focused on the retail market; she worked in this capacity for two years before leaving the company in 2008 to join the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) in Nigeria. At CHAI, Miss Mehta spent two years working with the Federal Ministry of Health HIV/AIDS Division, the US Government, and various UN organizations to forecast and import $20 million worth of HIV commodities into Nigeria, accelerate new drug approvals with regulatory bodies, and roll-out pediatric HIV testing, care and treatment operations in health clinics across the country. She then moved into a regional role, scaling up HIV diagnostic services in over 12 African countries, and working to strengthen the relationship between diagnostic suppliers (Roche, Abbott, and BD) and Ministries of Health as governments began to take more financial responsibility for their national HIV care and treatment programs. In 2012, Miss Mehta returned to the US to pursue an MBA from Harvard Business School, where she became actively involved in the Africa Business Club and began to develop a long-standing pipe dream to set up a tomato cannery in Nigeria. Shortly after graduating from HBS in 2014, Mira returned to Nigeria to start Tomato Jos, a for-profit social enterprise that makes high quality tomato paste for the West African market, using global best practices for farming and food processing, and sourcing tomatoes from smallholder farmers in northern Nigeria.

Dinah Hanson, Founder, Aspyre growth accelerator

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Dinah Hanson is the Founder of Aspyre Growth Accelerator, which seeks to develop management and system capabilities for high-growth, small and medium sized Agro-enterprises in Africa. Dinah has extensive experience working across sub-Saharan Africa primarily in international development, agriculture and education. Prior to establishing Aspyre, Dinah led an Agribusiness Consortium –comprising African Business Schools and Industry actors– funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to develop and deliver Agribusiness Management Training Programs across Africa with a focus on Ghana, Nigeria and Tanzania. Previously, Dinah served as an inaugural faculty member at the African Leadership Academy in Johannesburg, where she played a pivotal role in building the Entrepreneurship Department through the design and implementation of the Student-Run Business Program. She has also worked with TechnoServe, Ghana as a Business Advisor for the Believe Begin Become Business Plan Competition and Entrepreneurship Development Program. Dinah is a Master in Public Policy Candidate at the Harvard Kennedy School, a member of the inaugural class of the London School of Economics Programme for African Leadership and holds an MBA (Entrepreneurship) from the Gordon Institute of Business Science, University of Pretoria, South Africa where she was a DANIDA Emerging Leaders Scholar.

Raphael Awuku, Founding Director and Chief Finance Officer, Nunya Farms

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Raph is a Founding Director and Chief Finance Officer of Nunya Farms, Ghana’s largest peanut farm. Nunya Farms currently cultivates over 20,000 acres of peanuts along the Volta, one of the largest man-made lakes in the world. It has offtake agreements with some of Ghana’s largest agro-processing companies, such as Avnash Industries, and also exports to a peanut snack processor in Egypt. Nunya Farms has raised millions of dollars from angel investors in Japan and Ghana.

Before joining Nunya Farms, Raph worked for Vanguard Group (a $3 trillion mutual fund) and John Hancock Financial Services in fixed income investing and risk management. He also worked as the Chief Accountant of Kingdom Hotels Investments (the Ghanaian subsidiary of the largest real estate private equity firm in the Middle East and Africa) and as a Senior Associate at PricewaterhouseCoopers, a Big Four accounting firm.He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics and Economics from the University of Ghana, a Master of Finance from MIT, and is currently studying for an MBA at the Wharton School and a Master of Public Administration in International Development at the Harvard Kennedy School.