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Mama Fresh Injera Attends and Speaks at an ACDI/VOCA Workshop

By Lulit Negash | Sun Feb 21 2016
Last week, one of RENEW’s portfolio companies, Mama Fresh Injera PLC, had the honor of attending and speaking at a workshop hosted by ACDI/VOCA’s Agricultural Growth Program-Agribusiness and Market Development (AGP-AMDe). According to ACDI/VOCA’s website, the AGP-AMDe program in Ethiopia “uses a value chain approach to strengthen the agriculture sector, enhance access to finance, and stimulate innovation and private sector investment.”
The coffee, chickpea, honey, wheat, maize and sesame value chains are all considered to be of the utmost importance to the U.S. and Ethiopian governments, and consequently to the AGP-AMDe program as well. In fact, this program is part of USAID’s Feed the Future initiative, which focuses on reducing global poverty and hunger by accelerating agricultural growth in 19 developing countries.
Over the course of the workshop, AGP-AMDe reviewed the progress of their projects in Ethiopia that spanned across the six value chains (coffee, chickpea, honey, wheat, maize and sesame), and showed a new video that outlined the status of the projects in the Amhara region. AGP-AMDe gave certificates of appreciation to partners of ACDI/VOCA, and highlighted the progress of the companies they provided grants to in the various value chains. This includes the sesame unions and associations for honey, pulses and coffee, the Ethiopian Commodities Exchange, and other government and non-government institutions. AGP-AMDe also mentioned RENEW and how private equity investment is helping local business to grow and create a more robust agriculture sector.
Hailu Tessema of Mama Fresh served as a panelist on Business Enabling Environment: Access to Finance and Investment discussion, along with other companies and cooperative union leaders. Over the course of the panel, Hailu thanked USAID for helping RENEW and the Impact Angel Network (IAN) partner with Mama Fresh, and discussed how RENEW and the IAN have done much more than simply provide access to finance - they have strengthened Mama Fresh as a company. Hailu outlined the changes that have been implemented since the IAN's investment in Mama Fresh, and encouraged the development community to continue to assist local companies partner with investors like RENEW and the IAN. Hailu concluded that while giving grants to local companies is important, private investment (while harder to obtain) makes Ethiopian companies stronger, because it forces companies to adopt new behaviors and disciplines.
The work that RENEW and the IAN are doing in Ethiopia with local entrepreneurs would not be possible without the assistance of USAID and our development partners, like ACDI/VOCA.
Renew Capital is an Africa-focused impact investment firm that backs innovative companies with high-growth potential. Renew Capital manages investments made on behalf of the Renew Capital Angels, a global network of angel investors, foundations and family offices who seek financial returns and sustainable social impact. For the latest on investing in Africa, subscribe and follow us at our social links below.

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