The 4th Edition of the Agrique Africa Investment Summit, is scheduled to take place 24+25th October in Frankfurt. And head of this upcoming summit, we would like to shed more light on one of our business presenters.

If you would like to register for the 4th Edition of The Agrique Africa Investment Summit, Scheduled to take place on the 24+25th October, in Frankfurt, Germany, please click here .

RICHELLE J. SPEIGHTS, Founder of Franchise Africa

For over 15 years you have been able to penetrate into the African Market, what are your thoughts pertaining to Africa's Agribusiness Sector?

When I think about Africa’s Agribusiness Sector I see enormous opportunity when the non-profit/aid community and agribusiness stakeholders truly work together to improve access to markets for smallholder farmers. I see a great opportunity for growth when new local markets are created to add value to production across several value chains. These new markets are created locally when manufacturing and processing facilities of what is produced in country are commissioned. 

We need an Agriculture 2.0 frame of mind. We need a Philanthropy 2.0 mindset. We have to be disrupters of normalcy and complacency in how things have always been done in the sector.  For years aid organizations have invested millions of dollars in farm inputs but the benefactor cannot capture the true value of the impact if there is no means of continuity beyond aid. Investors in the sector must also be willing to invest in intelligence so they can build impactful and profitable agriculture businesses.


Franchise Africa is currently building investment plans across 3 value chains, karite (shea) nut, ginger and sesame. The supply chain for the investment is linked to Propcom Mai-Karfi a program funded by DFID in Nigeria. The program was funded 25M over the past 5 years to aid smallholder farmers and women collector groups with access to local markets with the aim to increase revenues. The project is scheduled to end. Franchise Africa’s investment strategy is to add continuity to the Propcom’s laudable endeavors. By fortifying the link between aid organizations and the agribusiness sector the sector and the lives of smallholder farmers will be transformed. Market intelligence, research and studying the value chains from investment perspectives must be valued in order to attract new investors into the sector.

What are possibilities of having a good relationship between businesses in Africa and businesses in the United States (with focus on Agribusiness)?

Franchise Africa is a consulting agency with the mission to grow bilateral trade between the U.S. and Africa.  For many years I have consulted with business that seek to export the products they produce in U.S. markets.  We have designed our services to source buyers for clients in Africa.  The hurdles in the agriculture space for U.S. market entry are quality, consistency and traceability. 

Our organization studies U.S. markets and the trends of buyers in the U.S. ingredient market worth over USD27.73 Billion.  Much of what Africa produces are ingredients in consumer packaged goods.  Our target buyers are manufactures, contract manufacturers and co-packers that produce finished goods for the U.S. consumer markets worth over USD18 Trillion. These buyers have purchasing requirements that must be met in addition to Federal policies governing food quality. Quality controls need to be put in place as product recalls can cause huge profit losses for companies in the United States and reduce the reputation of exports from Africa making it difficult for U.S. buyers to trust suppliers from Africa. Part of our job is to improve the perception of food exports from Africa. Africa cannot just merely try to improve quality it must improve quality if export growth in U.S. markets is going to be achieved.  Quality can be controlled through the development of the agriculture manufacturing and processing industry in African countries.

Value additions must be made at the local level to compete with regional and global producers. Most of what Africa produces currently is the raw material, which is exported to European and Asian markets, where the value is added through production and then re-exported to the United States buyers. This loss drives investors away from the sector. In addition to quality, exports from African countries need a more organized warehousing and fulfillment system for marketing and distribution in the target markets to compete with global powerhouses such as India, China, Mexico and Brazil. Africa is not accessing a large segment of the U.S. market as most small to medium size manufacturers do not want to buy 20 metric tons of a given product, to be shipped in a 20ft container that will take 45 days to receive. But if the inventory is available in the target market many small to medium size manufacturers may purchase more than 20 metric tons over a protracted period of time when they can purchase in smaller quantities more consistently.  African investors and agribusiness stakeholders must value market intelligence such as this in order to succeed in U.S. and global markets at large.


What motivated you to start Franchise Africa?

My first approach to doing business in Africa has always been to work from the ground up. I built my first business in Liberia over 10 years ago. As a young entrepreneur I wanted to make an innovative impact.  So the mission in all of my business ventures in Africa has always been to build businesses, create jobs and eradicate poverty through trade.  When I arrived in post war Liberia in 2006 many of the children were not in school.  My very first venture was paying the school fees of over 200 hundred children so they could attend school.  I felt great.  Then after a few months, I asked myself are you going to do this for the next 12 years until each one of those students graduate from high school?  There was no continuity to my plan. So I looked at the issue, the same way I look at the issue with in the agribusiness sector in Africa, what is the heart of the problem, what is the solution? The solution was to create a business that was needed in the market and create jobs for the parents to generate the income needed to improve the quality of life and to take care of the educational responsibilities of their own children. Over a 9-year period I built one of the largest security firms in Liberia that aided investors coming into the country and international non-profit organizations.  By 2014, I had over 500 security guards employed protecting international agencies such as United Nations Development Program, Total, Firestone and many local business and non-profits. Many of the first employees were the parents of the children whom I had aided to go to school the previous year. The average number of dependents for each Liberian household at the time was 6.  From my investment to create a business that created jobs impacted over 3000 lives for over 10 years. This very experience is my motivation for Franchise Africa. Franchise Africa is a powerhouse of innovative solutions for Africa through business development and investment intelligence across many different sectors in Africa to ensure that jobs are created and poverty is eradicated through trade.  I believe that the agriculture sector across Africa needs a “For Profit” focus from all key stakeholders in the sector including non-profit organizations aiding smallholder farmers.

Where do you foresee Africa's Agribusiness Sector in years to come

The agribusiness sector will grow when intelligent agri-investment decisions are made from the development of bankable agribusiness investment plans. Bankable projects will unlock the hundreds of millions of dollars in funding that is available for the development of the agriculture sector in Africa.  When these funds are unlocked business are created, jobs are created, links in the value chains are fortified, farmers are impacted, allied service markets are developed and over all the macro economy grows.  When we make agriculture investment attractive and build a culture around intelligence gathering the sector will grow. The sector will move into this direction as more skilled and educated investors, both in Africa and in the Diaspora, begin to diversify into agriculture investment on the continent.

How do you think you can help in impacting Africa's Agribusiness Sector through Franchise Africa?


Franchise Africa brings a target market focus to the agribusiness sector. We gather the market intelligence from the target markets for export then we build bankable agribusiness projects in Africa to meet the target market demand.  We focus on two main areas when we look at agriculture investment, food security and export growth.  Our investment opportunities aim to measure impact as well as profitability.  Our investment ventures seek to cross over to sectors where agriculture inputs may be overlooked such as in the power sectors and infrastructure sectors.  We study value chains to see if there is value being lost because waste that could be considered as biomass or biofuel is not being valued locally.  We also look at the product type and the industries processed agriculture products can enter such as pharmaceutical grade and industrial grade products.  Our goal through building intelligent investment opportunities is to capture the complete value of the commodity in the world market, whether it is extracting Inulin from organically certified cassava for nutraceutical production or the use of shea nut cake for the production of Lipase, which makes up 10% of the enzyme market worth over USD 8 Billion.  Franchise Africa’s goal is to make sure Africa captures all of the value in the agriculture it produces in U.S. and other global markets.

Register Here For the 4th Edition of the Agrique Africa Investment Summit, 24+25th OCTOBER 2017, FRANKFURT, GERMANY

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