Welcome2Africa International acts as a connecting bridge between global investors and the African continent
What are the industry investors you focus on?
We have successfully established an ecosystem of global investors through many years of promoting investment and trade via conferences in Luxembourg, Belgium, London, Netherlands, Germany, Brazil, Ghana, and Nigeria. As a consequence, we have a broad investor network that includes Fund managers, Investment banks, Commercial banks, Microfinance Banks, PE/VC Firms, Foundations, Family offices, Angel Investors, Impact investors, Multinationals, Federal MDAs, NGOs, DFIs, Donor agencies and HNIs.
We tend to focus on international investors with keen interest in emerging markets; such as Africa, or those seeking to create social and environmental impact whilst
generating financial returns. We understand the diversity in investment preferences and philosophies, hence our premise for establishing our investor club – a growing global network of private and institutional investors looking to unlock the capital for good. Currently with over 100 members with investment commitments exceeding $10M, the investor club accommodates varying thesis and serves as an alternative
vehicle to deploy financial resources to agribusiness solving Africa’s most pressing challenges.
Africa has been projected as the poorest continent without any resources. How do you approach your investors and make them understand that this is a land of business opportunity?
On the contrary, Africa is a region blessed with over a thousand natural resources, ranging from fossil fuels, precious stones, metals, arable land, large forests, and inland fisheries. Africa is a major producer of important metals and minerals, with the two most profitable mineral resources been gold and diamonds, which represent about 20% of the world’s total production. Been home to the largest deposits of oil and natural gas, second to Asia, oil exploration represents the bulk of the continent’s GDP. On average, forest products account for over 6% of Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP), more than any other continent. Africa’s abundant forest covers 0.8 hectares per person, compared with 0.6 hectares globally. In central and western Africa alone, the forest cover is the heaviest and contributes more than 60% of GDP. Africa’s fishing industry provides income to more than 10 million people and has an annual export value of $2.7 billion. We are also major players in the marine
fish market, exporting between 80 and 90 percent of fish annually, with extensive inland fisheries that contain more than 3,000 fish species and account for two-thirds of global inland fish production. Food security frames our investment philosophy. As ecosystem enablers, we hope to keep supporting players towards building an Africa that can feed itself and others, hence our sector focus on agriculture. Agricultural production is the most important sector in most African countries, averaging 24% of the GDP for the region, with the World Bank estimating that agriculture and
agribusiness are projected to be a USD 1 trillion industry in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) by 2030, compared to USD 313 billion in 2010. The African agricultural sector employs 65% of labor, but it remains one of the most financially underserved, attracting less than 1% of commercial lending. With a population of over 200 million people, Nigeria accounts for almost half of West Africa’s population. With an estimated NGN1.3 trillion paid annually in food imports of four major commodities alone—wheat, rice, sugar, and fish—food production has not kept pace with population growth. Import dependency, although slightly reduced, is displacing local production and creating rising unemployment. However, there is a renewed focus on growing the non-oil sector of the economy, and the agro-industry is experiencing a renaissance with dedicated government policies geared towards encouraging farmers and investors.
The lack of finance is widely recognized as a perennial constraint on agricultural performance, whether among large agribusinesses or smallholders. At the same time, interest in Africa among foreign investors, pension funds, and foreign banks in direct investments and loans is at an all-time high, but tapping that potential requires the identification of viable and sustainable projects that pay attention to mitigating social risks. There is a huge funding gap that investors can leverage to unlock their capital for good.
How do you assure your investors both returns and tax benefits?
Our investment theme focuses on social and environmental impacts whilst generating financial returns. With a “profit for a purpose” standpoint, investors can generate superior returns by leveraging Africa’s enormous potential through value chain optimization and bridging the financing gap for MSMEs in the agricultural sector. Considering that investments in emerging markets can be highly risky and rewarding at the same time, we leverage our team of in-house experts to ensure proper streamlining of the deal pipeline through the conduct of complex financial analysis to provide optimal risk-adjusted returns. Through our accelerator program, we hand- hold entrepreneurs in solving Africa’s most pressing challenges to ensure the highest probability of their long- term success. Our services don’t just stop at capital raising; we provide technical assistance to these MSMEs from deal origination to execution.
Nigeria has various tax incentives intended to encourage investment in key sectors of the economy. These include: tax holidays, rural location incentives, export incentives, the export expansion grant (EEG) scheme, interest incentives, tourism incentives, investment allowances, foreign tax credits, etc. Through strategic partnerships with local players, foreign investors can be eligible for tax exemptions.
Driving investors around the globe to the African continent is the biggest challenge. How do you overcome the challenges? Let us know your success story.
Welcome2Africa International was built on the backbone of changing the African narrative. We were founded upon the initial vision to redefine Africa’s image, which has been severely misconstrued over the years. On a mission to become the center of excellence for the deployment of investment and trade into and across the African continent, we combine our knowledge dissemination endeavours, bespoke client services, and innovative programs to produce an Africa that can feed itself and others.
Convening international stakeholders hasn’t been a walk in the park. We faced challenges such as insecurity, unfavorable governmental policies, lack of critical infrastructure, language and cultural barriers, and diplomatic challenges, amongst others. However, by deploying our total customer solution model, we checkmate some of these perceived challenges. Through strategic partnerships with foreign developmental agencies, we align ourselves with the agricultural mandate of their delegations, who assist in ensuring the success of some of our activities.
By providing value-added services to participants in our events/conferences, we ensure equitable outcomes by spear-heading investment facilitation processes. On the demand side, we have an accelerator programme, which is a world-class program where agribusinesses are groomed, invested in, and provided with support to give them the highest probability of long-term success. We also have an investment advisory service where we assist mid-stage to large agribusinesses to access the required capital for business operations and expansions. Accordingly, on the supply side, we have an investor club, which is an evolving network of individual and institutional investors looking to sustainably grow their wealth by investing in vetted and verified deals. We are also in the process of closing out a $100M Agri-Impact Fund targeting early- to mid-stage social enterprises with high growth potential.
Over the years, we have successfully conducted over 20 local and international conferences with 1M+ attendees ranging from Angel Investors, Impact investors,
Multinationals, Federal parastatals, NGOs, DFIs, Donor agencies, HNIs to Agribusinesses, Fund managers, Investment banks, Commercial banks, Microfinance Institutions, PE/VC Firms, Foundations, Family offices etc.
In line with our overarching vision, we are currently organizing trade missions around priority commodities in Nigeria for the 2023 fiscal year. Our commodities of focus include Wheat, Shea, Oil Palm, Ginger and Cashew.
What is your biggest achievement so far, and what is your biggest goal for the
As an organization, our biggest achievement is facilitating investments of $25Mn + and trade of 200,000 MT+ of Agro-commodities both locally and internationally. By matchmaking foreign off-takers with local producers, we take advantage of comparative advantage by ensuring production output meets aggregate demand. Our entrepreneurs are solving problems in the areas of farmer income, mechanization, food security, and sustainability, which represents the bulk of challenges encountered in the Agri-industry. Our work has impacted over 600,000 smallholder farmers in Nigeria.
Our biggest goal for the future is to close our $100M Agri-Impact Fund by 2024. In collaboration with DLM Capital Group – the fund manager, we look to bridge the funding gap for the “missing middle,” who represent the engine of Africa’s agricultural sector. By identifying and supporting early- to mid-stage social enterprises, this fund would create 2M+ jobs (70% target for women and youth) and lift 10M+ smallholder farmers out of poverty at the end of its 10-year lifecycle.
About the Founder:
Our Founder, Bamidele, was born and bred in London. As a child, she always thought Africa was a continent filled with tiny huts and large forests. Upon her visit to Nigeria in her 20s, she was shocked but pleasantly surprised to meet a growing economic powerhouse but one riddled with challenges. She was particularly interested in agriculture because in the ‘land of plenty’, its people were starving. There and then, she made up her mind to lead the force driving change in the African narrative as well as to build an Africa that can feed itself and others; thus, Welcome2Africa was born. Welcome2Africa International is a female-led investment and trade facilitation company with a focus on Africa’s Agricultural sector.
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