African food- and agri-tech startups seizing the opportunities of the COVID-19 crisis

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The COVID-19 pandemic has a major impact on startup development and venture capital investments in Africa as well as globally. At the same time, the “new normal” of social or physical distancing is also a window of opportunity to leapfrog digital business models and solutions for various economic sectors, including the agriculture and food sector.

Cookshop, a Liberian food delivery service located in Monrovia, is a startup that came in to strengthen the food value chain by connecting local food producers with end consumers through its B2C e-commerce platform. In the COVID-19 crisis, Cookshop has significantly increased the food delivery to private persons as well as public institutions and has so far tripled its revenues. Bringo Fresh from Uganda and eMsika from Zambia are another two African startups that run food and agricultural e-commerce platforms and have experienced an overwhelming demand for their digital services and infrastructure since the recent rise of the pandemic.

Cookshop, Bringo Fresh and eMsika are three of the 12 startups that participate in the Investment Readiness Programme (IRP) implemented by the project ‘Scaling digital agriculture innovations through startups’ (SAIS) of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The IRP is designed to scale agri-tech and food-tech innovations developed by African startups through tailor-made company development measures, facilitating business and investor relations, and the provision of additional services to improve operations of the startups. 

For startups – now more than ever – it is crucial to set the right priorities and, at the same time, keep their eyes open for seizing new opportunities. GIZ-SAIS has just launched the call for applications for the second GIZ-SAIS Investment Readiness Programme, starting in September 2020. If you are an African startup that successfully develops digital solutions for solving the most pressing challenges in the agriculture and food sector in Africa, while also generating a positive impact effect for your customers, please apply by June 30 2020 at this link.

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