Agricultural entrepreneurs main winners of Anzisha Prize

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The African Leadership Academy and the MasterCard Foundation have announced the winners of this year’s Anzisha Prize, with young agricultural entrepreneurs coming out on top.

The Anzisha Prize is hosted annually by the African Leadership Academy and the MasterCard Foundation, and this year’s edition – the sixth – saw 12 finalists picked from an applicant pool of 550 entrepreneurs from 32 African countries.

At an awards ceremony in Johannesburg, South Africa, Heritiaina Randriamananatahina, a 22-year-old agriculture entrepreneur from Madagascar, was named the winner of the US$25,000 Grand Prize.

Randriamananatahina is the founder of Fiombonana, an agro-processing enterprise that manufactures dairy products and confectioneries using only Malagasy raw materials, employing farmers and providing local job opportunities. He is the winner of the prize to hail from the island nation.

“I am so excited to win the Anzisha Prize for 2016, even though I had to drop out of school when I was in grade six. My hard work in my business is paying off. I appreciate the training I have already received so far. Now that I have won, I will invest in my own education and grow my business,” said Randriamananatahina.

First runner-up was environmental entrepreneur Yaye Souadou Fall, 21, from Senegal, who will receive US$15,000 for E-cover, which recycles discarded tyres in her home city Dakar into multi-purpose tiles for paving playgrounds, pavements, roads and other surfaces. Fall is the first Senegalese entrepreneur to make the top three in the history of Anzisha Prize.

Another agricultural entrepreneur, N’guessan Koffi Jacques Olivier from Ivory Coast, was the second runner-up and will receive US$12,500. He also claimed the Agriculture Sector Prize, for his Yaletite Entrepreneurship Group CI, which produces and sells chocolate and food crops for profit and mobilises youth for agricultural employment.

“Joining the ranks of the Anzisha Fellows, this impressive group of young men and women are igniting the entrepreneurial spark in young people across Africa,” said Koffi Assouan, programme manager for youth livelihoods at the MasterCard Foundation. “This ripple, the #AnzishaEffect, has the power to transform the continent as these young entrepreneurs rise to become the next generation of African movers and shakers.”

Applications for the next cycle of the Anzisha Prize will open on February 15, 2017.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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