On October 25, The King Baudouin Foundation, the leading resource for philanthropic giving to Europe and Africa, held a private dinner at Sea Grill in New York City to honor Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola the founder of WeCyclers. WeCyclers is a Lagos-based social enterprise focused on giving low-income communities in developing countries a chance to capture value from waste and clean up their neighborhoods through an incentive-based recycling program. At the event were the Founder of African Women In Tech, Anie Akpe; Diversity and Inclusion Reporter at Forbes, Ruth Umoh; Tracy Austin, Busie Matsiko-Andan, Michelle Awuku Tatum, Shimite Obialo, Yasmina Edwards, Adey Hailu and founder of the African Women Power Network, Mary Olushoga.
Wefarm.co the digital network for global small-scale agriculture has raised $13 million in a Series A financing round led by Silicon Valley venture capital firm True Ventures.
This financing round will help Wefarm further scale its network of 1.9 million farmers, and its newly created Marketplace, to connect farmers in Africa, even those without internet access, to the information, products and services they need to be more successful. Investing alongside True Ventures are AgFunder and June Fund, among others. The company received significant follow-on investment from LocalGlobe, ADV and Norrsken Foundation.
Founded in 2015, Wefarm is on a mission to create a global eco-system for small-scale agriculture. With more than 1 billion people directly involved in small-scale farming, it is the biggest industry in the world. Wefarm is building the network of trust for those farmers.
Wefarm Marketplace allows farmers to easily access quality products and services, such as seeds, fertilizers and a range of other non-agricultural items from trusted retailers and brands. In line with Wefarm’s bottom-up model, all products, services and retailers on the platform have been recommended by Wefarm users and can even be purchased through SMS.
Disproportionally, smallholder farmers lose too much time and money due to fake or faulty agricultural products. Farm yields in many parts of Africa are just one-fifth of farm yield in the United States or Europe. Poor-quality seeds and fertilisers also limit growth in plants and animals. Given that smallholder farmers grow roughly 70 percent of the world’s food, Wefarm intends to use its technology to help close this yield gap.
The company’s funding announcement coincides with another notable growth milestone of reaching $1 million in total sales from the Wefarm Marketplace in just eight months since launch; that’s faster growth than both Amazon and eBay in their early stages.
With Marketplace sales growing at more than 40 percent month on month, the business is on a rapid growth trajectory. Over the next 12 months it aims to diversify into supporting farmers with both financing and delivery, as well as enabling them to trade the commodities and crops they grow, with the goal of becoming a key part of the global supply chain on behalf of the farmer.
A resolution adopted at the Africa Women Innovation & Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) 5th Annual Conference & Expo, could have far reaching implications for women economic empowerment in Africa.
The Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum Conference
made history this week when it called for the economic empowerment of women to be linked to the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), at its annual gathering of leading women politicians, businesswomen and entrepreneurs on the continent, 29-30 October 2019, at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC), Cape Town, South Africa.
The initial call was made by renowned economic activist and social entrepreneur, Wendy Luhabe, from the stage on the first day, for radical action and not just conversation, leading to the adoption on Day 2, by the gathering of influential women of a resolution to be delivered to the Chair of the African Union.
Said Luhabe, the Founder of the Women’s Private Equity Fund and co-founder WINDE: “Women do not get invited when nations are going through transitions. We have to make a space for ourselves.”
The resolution states that: “The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), is a monumental milestone on Africa’s developmental roadmap that must be exploited to the full for intra-Africa trade. It will unleash almost unlimited opportunities, new economies of scale, and income and employment generation through greater market and economic integration.
“We are concerned that if women are not involved in finalising the details of the Agreement, women will be excluded from the opportunities that will be unleashed.”
AWIEF Founder and CEO, Irene Ochem, lauded the occasion as indeed momentous for women on the continent of Africa.
AWIEF, which this year celebrates the 5th anniversary of its benchmarking Conference, Expo and Awards, hosted more than 60 African and global thought leaders across business and politics to share insight and thought leadership. UNECA, World Bank, USAID, CTA, Shell, Nedbank, APO Group headlined the flagship event.
The conference theme this year was, Enhancing Impact: Digitalisation, Investment and Intra-African Trade. The two-day event aimed to promote and accelerate the growth of women-owned and women-led businesses for Africa’s inclusive economic growth; share entrepreneurship trends; connect and network with trailblazers from all over Africa and beyond.
AWIEF 2019 Keynote speakers included Dr Vera Songwe, United Nations Undersecretary General and Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA); Arunma Oteh, Academic Scholar, Oxford University and former Vice President and Treasurer of the World Bank; Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, Chancellor Nelson Mandela University and former Vice President and Special Envoy on gender to the African Development Bank (AfDB).
Every year NGO CSW/NY presents the Woman of Distinction Award to a woman in recognition of her leadership in the struggle for gender equality, human rights and women’s empowerment.
In 2020 as we commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing +25, we have decided to honor five (5) women, one from each United Nations Region: Africa, Asia-Pacific, Latin America Caribbean, Eastern Europe, Western Europe and others.
The five Women of Distinction will receive their awards at the 2020 NGO CSW Consultation Day on Sunday, 8 March. They will also be introduced at the NGO CSW Reception on 10 March.
Honorees must be available to travel to New York City in order to be present for NGO CSW Consultation Day, 8 March 2020.A total of $5,000 will be available to help defray travel costs to be shared among the honorees.
The honoree should be:
A leader of distinction in her field of expertise who has made significant contributions to the Beijing Platform for Action with demonstrated results;
Outstanding young feminist leader who has made contributions to policy or projects related to the Beijing Platform for Action and who demonstrates promise in leading the work in the next generation;
A woman or girl who has advocated for social change and is an effective motivator and communicator;
A leader who is committed to social change and implementing action plans to improve the lives of women and girls when she goes back to her home.
The Women of Distinction will be selected from the five United Nations Regions and the group will represent diversity in age, social cultural mix, urban-rural, and expertise in different critical areas of the Beijing Platform for Action.
Please e-mail names of nominees with the following supporting documents to woda (at) ngocsw.org no later than 2 December 2019.
Cover letter by nominee, with title, name of NGO, email, phone, address.
Curriculum vitae of nominee
Letter of recommendation with name, title, email address and relationship to nominee
Applications are considered complete when the entire set of documents are submitted. Only completed applications will be considered.
Any global NGO can apply to host an NGO CSW64 Parallel Event as long as their proposed event is relevant to the CSW64 theme. Your organization does not have to be ECOSOC accredited.
Your application will be reviewed to determine the relationship of your proposed parallel event to the CSW64 theme and its relevance to advancing gender equality post Forum. This includes the 6 thematic clusters (listed below) and emerging issues (such as migration, climate, and others).
– Inclusive development, shared prosperity and decent work – Poverty eradication, social protection and social services – Freedom from violence, stigma and stereotypes – Participation, accountability and gender-responsive institutions – Peaceful and inclusive societies – Environmental conservation, protection and rehabilitation
Special attention will be given to those who reflect implementation ideas in their applications. Selected parallel events will be scheduled for a 90-minute slot Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 6:15 pm during March 9-20 and on Saturday the 14. Once scheduled, NGO CSW/NY will not accommodate any changes in scheduling or assigned venue.
The 12-week Facebook Accelerator London program will launch in November, and startups will gain access to the knowledge and expertise of Facebook employees, which includes practical workshops in product, engineering, growth, impact, and bespoke mentorship.
Product managers, data scientists, marketers, recruitment specialists and engineers from Facebook will offer mentorship to the startups involved in the program. Facebook Connectivity will support companies that are building solutions to bring faster, cheaper and better connectivity and internet services to people across Africa.
The program is designed for startups from across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) that are creating impact at scale using artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR), blockchain and other Facebook technologies.
In line with its growing international cooperation, the African Energy Chamber will welcome young professionals from across Africa, North and South America, Asia and the Middle East to join its office in Johannesburg for 12 months.
The Fellows will be provided with an opportunity to apply analytical skills on concrete challenges and problems across the energy sector, and an opportunity to specialize in upstream oil & gas and local content development. They will work in collaboration with the Chamber’s dedicated oil and gas sector advisors and experts located around sub-Saharan Africa, and help deliver research and consulting projects that address on-the-ground challenges faced by Africa’s oil & gas sector.
Selected fellows will join the African Energy Chamber for 12 to 16 months and join a team that provides comprehensive and thought-provoking research on the African oil & gas industry and energy sector at large, along with critical support to local content development programs across the continent. A large part of the roles will focus on sharing and presenting data and informed views to the Chamber’s partners and the industry, and developing the right capacity building programs to institutional and private parties across the continent.
How to apply: Interested applicants should send their resume at the soonest to mickael (at) energychamber.org and highlight the contribution they wish to bring to the work of the African Energy Chamber.
VC4A is proud to announce the 12 ventures (11 Series A and 1 Seed+) for its 2019 Venture Showcase. These companies selected represent the best investment opportunities on the continent. They have been vetted by 40 VC investors through a rigorous referral and selection process. The companies demonstrate strong revenues and competitive edge, are well-positioned for regional and internal expansion, and are working on important innovations in the healthcare, finance, transport, commerce and advertising sectors.
The founders will showcase their businesses in front of the investors at Africa Early Stage Investor Summit in Cape Town on 13 to 14 November 2019, with the aim of raising $250k-$5mln in Series A capital. All companies provide technology-intensive or innovation-based products or services that are currently available in one or more African markets.
Introducing the 2019 VC4A Venture Showcase companies
Without further delay, the 12 companies are: 7keema (Egypt), Brimore (Egypt), Buseet (Egypt), CredPal (Nigeria), CrowdForce (Nigeria), FinChatBot (South Africa), FlexClub (South Africa), LifeBank (Nigeria), Mobiz (South Africa), Snapnsave (South Africa), Yassir (Algeria), and VRapeutics (Egypt) for the Seed+ category.
7keema is a technology-enabled healthcare services platform that enhances the accessibility and quality of nursing services while empowering female nurses everywhere.
Brimore is a social commerce platform that enables manufacturers to grow on a national scale through a powerful commercial arm of individuals, selling the products to their surrounding circles via all possible channels.
Buseet operates private high-end buses in transporting daily commuters. allowing businesses and employees to book trips on predefined routes through their apps.
CredPal is a financial technology company that enables consumers to make purchases across online/offline merchants and pay in fixed monthly installments by providing them with instant access to credit at the point-of-sale and also on credit cards.
CrowdForce is building an ecosystem of 1 million merchants that will render penetrative market research and financial inclusion services to the billions of consumers in Africa and other emerging markets.
FinChatBot develops bespoke Artificial Intelligence-powered chatbots to help financial service providers acquire and retain customers while reducing operating costs.
FlexClub is a managed marketplace helping independent drivers on digital platforms access vehicle ownership based on their skills while simplifying how purpose-driven investors can earn competitive returns from funding commercial fleets.
LifeBank is a medical distribution company focused on transporting supply chain-sensitive medical products such as blood, vaccines, and oxygen in developing countries using high and low technologies as well as smart logistics.
Mobiz is a powerful yet easy-to-use software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform that offers businesses of all sizes cutting-edge customer engagement. Mobiz’s proprietary SmartSMS product combines the ubiquity of established mobile channels with the personalization of the web to create unique calls to action.
Snapnsave is South Africa’s #1 cashback coupon app that gives shoppers and independent traders cashback when shopping in-store, just by snapping a photo of their shopping receipts.
Yassir is an innovative transportation service that can be used with your smartphone anywhere, anytime. It allows everyone to book a driver and to move safely.
And last but not least, our special selection in the ‘Seed+’ investment category is VRapeutic . It develops virtual reality software for therapy, with a focus on learning disabilities and developmental disorders, such as autism, ADHD, dyslexia, and cerebral palsy.
The lead-up to the main stage in Cape Town
These 12 selected startups will be linked to top VC investors as mentors in the coming weeks and receive bespoke investor readiness training that culminates in a 1-week residency in Cape Town, South Africa. During the residency, the startups will have the opportunity to interact with and learn from their mentors, peers, and partners, before delivering their pitches on the main stage of the Africa Early Stage Investor Summit. The program offers two days of networking opportunities at the Summit, where entrepreneurs will also engage with interested investors during deep-dive sessions. Moreover, the participants will pitch to a wider audience of corporates, investors and tech professionals at VC4A’s partner event, AfricaCom.
Investor participation has been outstanding this year, with 40 major VCs and multiple angel groups involved in the intensive vetting process. We believe initiatives like this help to build trust and foster collaboration between industry stakeholders, and importantly, create both co-investment opportunities and exit opportunities for our partners.
Interested in attending the 2019 VC4A Venture Showcase and meeting the entrepreneurs behind these 12 companies? Consider joining us in Cape Town in November! or get in touch with us by email at: team[at]africainvestorsummit.com.
She-EO is a powerful, soul inspiring and life transforming experience for purpose driven women. It is a talk-show style experience, which features experts and “battle tested winners” whose stories, authenticity and experiences transform the lives of our audience, and inspire us to think about Money, Career, Impact, Love & Relationships, Health and Wellness, and Adversity from positions of wholeness and strength. The goal of She-EO is to provide safe platforms for multi-cultural women of color to retreat and discuss issues related to personal growth and community engagement. She-EO specifically addresses financial, mental and societal barriers that inhibit the growth and progress of women.
She-EO is a unique gathering of the most determined and diverse women of African descent. We are breaking cultural barriers by having no hold barred discussions about issues that are “taboo” topics in many cultures and communities, because these barriers have to be broken so millions of women can live more fulfilling lives, and make better contributions in their communities.
As we prepare to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women and Beijing Platform for Action, take stock of our progress toward achieving gender equality and examine the threats, barriers and gaps that remain, we do not want to reinvent the wheel.
Let us use the Beijing Platform for Action, CEDAW and other human rights treaties, the SDGs, as well as a host of other international commitments such as the International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action, New Urban Agenda of Habitat, UNSC Resolution 1325 and related resolutions and the Paris Climate Accord to measure our progress and make our demands clear.
What are the six thematic clusters?
Inclusive development, shared prosperity and decent work
Poverty eradication, social protection and social services
Freedom from violence, stigma and stereotypes
Participation, accountability and gender-responsive institutions
Peaceful and inclusive societies
Environmental conservation, protection and rehabilitation
This plan can be implemented at global, regional and national/local levels. Please adapt as you wish.