Doing business in Africa, for Africa

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Since Olam’s inception in Nigeria – sourcing cashews – in 1989, the agricultural landscape in Africa has evolved into an engine for economic growth, job creation, poverty reduction and food security. Prompted by the reality of the global financial crisis and market volatility, the liberalisation of the agricultural sector by African governments has created new opportunities for private investment, boosting economic growth and with it, the opportunity for smallholder farmers.

Since then, huge strides have been made from this renewed focus on agriculture, with countries seeing productivity and exports rise. In Côte d’Ivoire, for instance, cocoa and cotton production has doubled and cashew nut production tripled. Not every country, however, can tell the same success story and significant challenges for investment remain. Currency and counterparty risk probably top the fear factors for potential investors but, generally, the ‘failures’ tend to come down to due diligence issues. These include inadequate market analysis and an assumption that business models can simply be transplanted across markets. Ghana, for example, is no more like Mozambique than Singapore is like Indonesia. You have to have boots on the ground.

Any investment, foreign or national, can incur a considerable reputational and financial cost if it fails to undertake its own due diligence and be willing to commit to ongoing engagement with local stakeholders. A World Bank conference in 2016 heard that 45% of land investments fail in Africa due to community conflicts. The investor has a responsibility alongside the beneficiary country to make their investments work; it’s not enough to rely on government assurances, companies need to substantiate their social licence to operate by applying their own risk assessment – such as Environmental & Social Impact Assessments (ESIA) – with a reputed third party. A foreign investor will also think about the country risk, but this can be addressed through strong public-private partnerships to make investments, which benefit the population and the government development agenda.

Prioritising the right investments

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Meanwhile, farmers continue to face poor infrastructure and inadequate access to credit and markets. In processing and distribution, the challenges essentially boil down to the problem of preserving product quality, given the lack of infrastructure for storage and transport. In Nigeria, for instance, even though groundnuts are a key crop, the country is unable to export them; the lack of warehousing means the groundnuts are left too long in the fields leading to the growth of aflatoxins, which prime export markets, like the US, do not accept due to health risks. Overall, the most significant bottleneck lies in the logistics part of the African supply chain, including road, rail and port access. Agribusinesses like Olam can invest in storage, but ports – being highly congested, generally inefficient and costly – are a different matter.

Addressing these issues would not only encourage trade but help to reduce food waste, which in turn helps global food security. Some African governments are already making moves in the right direction, but more needs to be done before Africa becomes a serious player in the global productivity stakes. That said, this status shouldn’t belie the potential that the continent still holds for agricultural growth – if managed sustainably. Indeed, with about half of the world’s fertile, but as-yet, uncultivated land, it’s estimated that agribusiness in Africa will grow to be a US$1 trillion (€880 billion) industry in Africa by 2030. Then there is Africa’s demographic dividend, from having the fastest growing and youthful population in the world (40% below 15 and 20% below 24), which if provided with adequate education and training, presents a huge opportunity in terms of labour force and consumer spending.

Read Also:  Enhancing The Contribution Of Innovation, Youth And Leadership In Africa And The African Diaspora

Focusing on people and infrastructure

For three decades, Olam has grown alongside Africa, investing US$2.8 billion (€2.47 billion) across 25 countries from Côte d’Ivoire in the West, Tanzania in the East, to Zambia in the South. But any company wanting to capitalise on this high-potential region has to be mindful of not approaching it with a broad brush. Each country is different and requires individual time and resources in order to demonstrate benefits which help both the business and the country to grow.

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To achieve this, you need to invest in people, infrastructure and help to support a business environment, where national companies and entrepreneurs can thrive alongside their international counterparts. So, from starting in Africa as an exporter of cash crops, the development of Olam’s packaged foods, and rice and wheat milling operations for the domestic market, means we can truly say that we are doing business in Africa, for Africa.

If we consider that African agriculture is essentially built on the activity of more than 35 million smallholders, any investment which doesn’t catalyse their productivity won’t be sustainable. So, placing a strong focus on supporting the 2.8 million smallholder farmers that supply Olam with crops, ranging from coffee and cotton to cashews and rice, makes business sense, especially given the challenges they face, as mentioned previously. Our ability to continue supplying our customers depends on lifting these farmers out of poverty and ensuring they can produce sustainable volumes in the face of any market or climate-related risks.

Without question, delivering scale of impact through our investment has required collaboration with NGOs and development finance institutions. It is only through these alliances that we are able to move these smallholders out of subsistence farming and achieve real change on the ground. Looking ahead, we see tremendous potential for economic development in Africa, which remains a key part of Olam’s growth story. For this reason, we will continue to prioritise the region as a globally competitive supply for our commodities, as well as maximise its strong underlying demand growth through our domestic foods business.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Venkataramani Srivathsan, Olam International

Venkataramani Srivathsan, managing director for Africa and the Middle East, joined Olam International in 1994. Mr Srivathsan has presented many papers on smallholder farming at Pan-African forums and been part of the advisory committees for the Nigerian ministries of agriculture and of trade and industry. Under his leadership, Olam Nigeria has won several international and national awards. In 2010, Mr Srivathsan was awarded a prestigious World Business for Peace Award. He is also a member of the Advisory Panel of the NTU-SBF Centre for African Studies.

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Doing business in Africa, for Africa - Brand Spur

Mead Johnson Nutrition HK Launches “We CAN Protect the Future” –...

Enabling parents and children to build a greener world by taking their first steps in recycling formula cans

 

HONG KONG SAR - Media OutReach - 10 May 2021 - To encourage Hong Kong citizens to lead greener lives, Mead Johnson Nutrition Hong Kong ("Mead Johnson"), one of the brands under Reckitt Benckiser ("Reckitt"), officially launched its city-wide "We CAN Protect the Future" Formula Cans Recycling Program in early April. Created in partnership with 24-hour online shopping platform, HKTVmall under Hong Kong Television Network Limited ("HKTVmall") and the World Green Organisation ("WGO"), the program aims to raise awareness among the public on the importance of recycling and urge parents to safeguard the future of their children by taking immediate actions to protect the environment and be the role models of green living.


Doing business in Africa, for Africa - Brand Spur

According to a recent survey, only around 30% of interviewed parents would recycle the used formula cans in Hong Kong[1]. With collection points at 6 HKTVmall O2O Shops across the city, the Program offers consumers easy access to a reliable channel to recycle and transform their used formula cans into useful raw materials to reduce waste and protect our environment.

The Program accepts cleaned formula cans from all brands and rewards participating parents with HKTVmall e-vouchers that can be used for online purchase[2]. To ensure proper storage and transportation of all collected cans, all brand logos and brand names will be erased before a specialized delivery team transports the cans from HKTVmall O2O Shops to a local recycling plant. The cans will then be destructed and shipped to another facility for further processing. Molten metal will be recycled into raw metal materials for different purposes, such as for construction use.

"Reckitt is driven by its purpose, do the right things, always. Mead Johnson as one for the core brands of Reckitt also upholds this mission, it not only provides high-quality nutrition products, but has been working hand in hand with our consumers to safeguard the environment and nourish the best start in life for more than a century," said Mr. Pankaj Agarwal, Reckitt's General Manager Hong Kong, Taiwan & Cross-Border. "Through the partnership with HKTVmall and WGO to offer a convenient and reliable recycling channel, we hope to empower parents and their children to build recycling habits at an early stage, and hence create a cleaner, healthier world."

Ms. Jelly Zhou, Chief Executive Officer (Hong Kong) at Hong Kong Television Network Limited, added, "HKTVmall is committed to enhancing Hong Kong people's quality of life via innovative technologies. We also highly value social responsibility in promoting a culture of environmental protection and resource conservation. Through this partnership with Mead Johnson and WGO, it not only endows a value to the used items through reducing wastage and promote recycling awareness, but also spread the message of environmental protection to everyone. Let us make changes in our daily lives with everybody's joint efforts, encourage sustainable development for Hong Kong and all over the world." HKTVmall, as co-organiser of the Program, shares their store networks to facilitate the mechanism of the recycling process. It helps mobilizing Hong Kong citizens to join the program in different areas simultaneously and promoting recycling in the city.

WGO acts as the supporting organisation to provide professional advice on improving the overall can recycling experience in this Program. "WGO is pleased to drive the formula cans recycling programme with Mead Johnson and HKTVmall" said Dr. William Yu, Founder & Chief Executive Officer of World Green Organisation. "We look forward to seeing different stakeholders in society, including manufacturers, retailers and the public to join hands and promote recycling, and facilitating a green future for our next generation."

The "We CAN Protect the Future" Formula Can Recycling Programme runs every Monday and Wednesday, from now until 30th June 2021.

For more details, please visit: https://cloud.marketing.hktvmall.com/canrecycle2021


[1] Baby Kingdom Online Survey on formula can recycling habits (2019)

[2] From 7th April to 30th June, participants can redeem an e-voucher (HKTVmall HK$50 Dettol Product or HK$200 Mead Johnson Nutrition Selected Product) for every successful return of a cleaned formula can, up to four e-vouchers per day. Distribution of e-vouchers may vary depending on availability at different shops. E-vouchers are available on a first-come, first-served basis while stocks last and check with the on-duty staff for details on collection day. Offers are subject to Terms and Conditions and can be found here: https://bit.ly/3mtsEJU

About Mead Johnson Nutrition

Mead Johnson Nutrition has been established in 1905. For more than a century, Mead Johnson Nutrition has led the way in developing safe, high-quality, innovative pediatric nutrition products, guided by the mission to nourish the world's children for the best start in life. The brand operates Mead Johnson Pediatric Nutrition Institutes worldwide. These centers connect Mead Johnson Nutrition's researchers to scientists and healthcare professionals around the world, putting the brand at the forefront of pediatric nutrition science.

Read Also:  Sanofi And GSK To Join Forces In Unprecedented Caccine Collaboration To Fight COVID-19

Mead Johnson Nutrition (Hong Kong) Limited has been landed for a half century, providing Hong Kong parents with high quality, science-based products, various parenting information and professional advice, gaining trust and support from parents.

Mead Johnson Nutrition's scientists and healthcare professionals are paying affords on the formula for children with special nutrition needs and Mead Johnson Nutrition is a very few brands that insists to produce the formula for metabolic disorders' children, giving hopes to them.

For more information visit http://www.meadjohnson.com.hk/

About Reckitt

Reckitt* exists to protect, heal and nurture in the relentless pursuit of a cleaner, healthier world. We believe that access to the highest-quality hygiene, wellness and nourishment is a right, not a privilege.

Reckitt is the company behind some of the world's most recognisable and trusted consumer brands in hygiene, health and nutrition, including Air Wick, Calgon, Cillit Bang, Clearasil, Dettol, Durex, Enfamil, Finish, Gaviscon, Harpic, Lysol, Mortein, Mucinex, Nurofen, Nutramigen, Strepsils, Vanish, Veet, Woolite and more.

Every day, more than 20 million Reckitt products are bought globally. We always put consumers and people first, seek out new opportunities, strive for excellence in all that we do and build shared success with all our partners. We aim to do the right thing, always.

We are a diverse global team of more than 43,000 colleagues. We draw on our collective energy to meet our ambitions of purpose-led brands, a healthier planet and a fairer society.

Find out more, or get in touch with us at www.reckitt.com

*Reckitt is the trading name of the Reckitt Benckiser group of companies

About Hong Kong Television Network Limited

Hong Kong Television Network Limited is a Hong Kong-listed company (SEHK: 1137).

Established in 1992, the Group has extensive and successful experience in telecom market liberalization and popularizing advanced technology and applications.

The Company is now developing Hong Kong's largest 24-hour online shopping mall, HKTVmall, which provides one-stop shop services including online shopping, marketing & digital advertising, big data analysis, smart logistics & fulfilment as well as physical O2O stores, and to transform all business operation, trading, retail, finance and daily life onto a single digital online platform. For more information, visit www.hktv.com.hk.

About World Green Organisation

The World Green Organisation (WGO) is an independent non-governmental organisation concerned with environmental conservation and environmentally related livelihood and economic affairs. It provides a holistic approach to a fully integrated three-pronged solution that combines social, environmental and economic dimensions for a paradigm shift towards low-carbon and climate-resilient development pathways.

Through science-based policy research and community projects, the WGO aims to enhance the quality of the environment, promote a greener economy, and improve people's livelihoods. In particular, it will focus on the social concerns of underprivileged groups and on the creation of a green economy, to help realise its vision of sustainable development. For more information, visit www.thewgo.org/website/eng/.

Doing business in Africa, for Africa - Brand Spur
- Advertisement -
spot_imgspot_img

Latest News

Mead Johnson Nutrition HK Launches “We CAN Protect the Future” – Formula Cans Recycling Program with HKTVmall and World Green Organisation

Enabling parents and children to build a greener world by taking their first steps in recycling formula cans

 

HONG KONG SAR - Media OutReach - 10 May 2021 - To encourage Hong Kong citizens to lead greener lives, Mead Johnson Nutrition Hong Kong ("Mead Johnson"), one of the brands under Reckitt Benckiser ("Reckitt"), officially launched its city-wide "We CAN Protect the Future" Formula Cans Recycling Program in early April. Created in partnership with 24-hour online shopping platform, HKTVmall under Hong Kong Television Network Limited ("HKTVmall") and the World Green Organisation ("WGO"), the program aims to raise awareness among the public on the importance of recycling and urge parents to safeguard the future of their children by taking immediate actions to protect the environment and be the role models of green living.


Doing business in Africa, for Africa - Brand Spur

According to a recent survey, only around 30% of interviewed parents would recycle the used formula cans in Hong Kong[1]. With collection points at 6 HKTVmall O2O Shops across the city, the Program offers consumers easy access to a reliable channel to recycle and transform their used formula cans into useful raw materials to reduce waste and protect our environment.

The Program accepts cleaned formula cans from all brands and rewards participating parents with HKTVmall e-vouchers that can be used for online purchase[2]. To ensure proper storage and transportation of all collected cans, all brand logos and brand names will be erased before a specialized delivery team transports the cans from HKTVmall O2O Shops to a local recycling plant. The cans will then be destructed and shipped to another facility for further processing. Molten metal will be recycled into raw metal materials for different purposes, such as for construction use.

"Reckitt is driven by its purpose, do the right things, always. Mead Johnson as one for the core brands of Reckitt also upholds this mission, it not only provides high-quality nutrition products, but has been working hand in hand with our consumers to safeguard the environment and nourish the best start in life for more than a century," said Mr. Pankaj Agarwal, Reckitt's General Manager Hong Kong, Taiwan & Cross-Border. "Through the partnership with HKTVmall and WGO to offer a convenient and reliable recycling channel, we hope to empower parents and their children to build recycling habits at an early stage, and hence create a cleaner, healthier world."

Ms. Jelly Zhou, Chief Executive Officer (Hong Kong) at Hong Kong Television Network Limited, added, "HKTVmall is committed to enhancing Hong Kong people's quality of life via innovative technologies. We also highly value social responsibility in promoting a culture of environmental protection and resource conservation. Through this partnership with Mead Johnson and WGO, it not only endows a value to the used items through reducing wastage and promote recycling awareness, but also spread the message of environmental protection to everyone. Let us make changes in our daily lives with everybody's joint efforts, encourage sustainable development for Hong Kong and all over the world." HKTVmall, as co-organiser of the Program, shares their store networks to facilitate the mechanism of the recycling process. It helps mobilizing Hong Kong citizens to join the program in different areas simultaneously and promoting recycling in the city.

WGO acts as the supporting organisation to provide professional advice on improving the overall can recycling experience in this Program. "WGO is pleased to drive the formula cans recycling programme with Mead Johnson and HKTVmall" said Dr. William Yu, Founder & Chief Executive Officer of World Green Organisation. "We look forward to seeing different stakeholders in society, including manufacturers, retailers and the public to join hands and promote recycling, and facilitating a green future for our next generation."

The "We CAN Protect the Future" Formula Can Recycling Programme runs every Monday and Wednesday, from now until 30th June 2021.

For more details, please visit: https://cloud.marketing.hktvmall.com/canrecycle2021


[1] Baby Kingdom Online Survey on formula can recycling habits (2019)

[2] From 7th April to 30th June, participants can redeem an e-voucher (HKTVmall HK$50 Dettol Product or HK$200 Mead Johnson Nutrition Selected Product) for every successful return of a cleaned formula can, up to four e-vouchers per day. Distribution of e-vouchers may vary depending on availability at different shops. E-vouchers are available on a first-come, first-served basis while stocks last and check with the on-duty staff for details on collection day. Offers are subject to Terms and Conditions and can be found here: https://bit.ly/3mtsEJU

About Mead Johnson Nutrition

Mead Johnson Nutrition has been established in 1905. For more than a century, Mead Johnson Nutrition has led the way in developing safe, high-quality, innovative pediatric nutrition products, guided by the mission to nourish the world's children for the best start in life. The brand operates Mead Johnson Pediatric Nutrition Institutes worldwide. These centers connect Mead Johnson Nutrition's researchers to scientists and healthcare professionals around the world, putting the brand at the forefront of pediatric nutrition science.

Mead Johnson Nutrition (Hong Kong) Limited has been landed for a half century, providing Hong Kong parents with high quality, science-based products, various parenting information and professional advice, gaining trust and support from parents.

Mead Johnson Nutrition's scientists and healthcare professionals are paying affords on the formula for children with special nutrition needs and Mead Johnson Nutrition is a very few brands that insists to produce the formula for metabolic disorders' children, giving hopes to them.

For more information visit http://www.meadjohnson.com.hk/

About Reckitt

Reckitt* exists to protect, heal and nurture in the relentless pursuit of a cleaner, healthier world. We believe that access to the highest-quality hygiene, wellness and nourishment is a right, not a privilege.

Reckitt is the company behind some of the world's most recognisable and trusted consumer brands in hygiene, health and nutrition, including Air Wick, Calgon, Cillit Bang, Clearasil, Dettol, Durex, Enfamil, Finish, Gaviscon, Harpic, Lysol, Mortein, Mucinex, Nurofen, Nutramigen, Strepsils, Vanish, Veet, Woolite and more.

Every day, more than 20 million Reckitt products are bought globally. We always put consumers and people first, seek out new opportunities, strive for excellence in all that we do and build shared success with all our partners. We aim to do the right thing, always.

We are a diverse global team of more than 43,000 colleagues. We draw on our collective energy to meet our ambitions of purpose-led brands, a healthier planet and a fairer society.

Find out more, or get in touch with us at www.reckitt.com

*Reckitt is the trading name of the Reckitt Benckiser group of companies

About Hong Kong Television Network Limited

Hong Kong Television Network Limited is a Hong Kong-listed company (SEHK: 1137).

Established in 1992, the Group has extensive and successful experience in telecom market liberalization and popularizing advanced technology and applications.

The Company is now developing Hong Kong's largest 24-hour online shopping mall, HKTVmall, which provides one-stop shop services including online shopping, marketing & digital advertising, big data analysis, smart logistics & fulfilment as well as physical O2O stores, and to transform all business operation, trading, retail, finance and daily life onto a single digital online platform. For more information, visit www.hktv.com.hk.

About World Green Organisation

The World Green Organisation (WGO) is an independent non-governmental organisation concerned with environmental conservation and environmentally related livelihood and economic affairs. It provides a holistic approach to a fully integrated three-pronged solution that combines social, environmental and economic dimensions for a paradigm shift towards low-carbon and climate-resilient development pathways.

Through science-based policy research and community projects, the WGO aims to enhance the quality of the environment, promote a greener economy, and improve people's livelihoods. In particular, it will focus on the social concerns of underprivileged groups and on the creation of a green economy, to help realise its vision of sustainable development. For more information, visit www.thewgo.org/website/eng/.

Doing business in Africa, for Africa - Brand Spur
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