Generation Africa kicks off next agritech competition for Africa

Samuel Mungadze
By Samuel Mungadze, Africa editor
Johannesburg, 16 Apr 2020
Strive Masiyiwa, founder and executive chairman of Econet.
Strive Masiyiwa, founder and executive chairman of Econet.

Generation Africa has announced the second annual GoGettaz competition, which aims to grow the pan-African entrepreneurial community and pave the way for new businesses embracing technology and innovation in the agrifood and agritech sectors.

The Generation Africa consortium is a partnership initiative between Yara International, Econet, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, Corteva Agriscience, Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions and Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture, seeking to inspire young African entrepreneurs to join the agrifood sector.

Now in its second year, the annual competition has R1.9 million ($100 000) prize money.

Organisers say the 2020 competition, launched amid the coronavirus pandemic, will give hope and support to agripreneurs on the African continent.

“Bringing on board influential co-founders, members and ambassadors, the 2020 competition aims to grow the pan-African GoGettaz entrepreneurial community and pave the way for new businesses embracing technology and innovation in the agrifood and agritech sectors,” Generation Africa says.

“The competition launches as the coronavirus pandemic is having a severely negative impact on health, well-being and livelihoods of billions of people throughout Africa and the world.

“While the ultimate costs of this crisis are unknown, tremendous effort and innovation is needed to keep agribusiness going and ensure the health crisis does not also translate into a severe food crisis.”

According to Generation Africa, leadership and coordinated action are required at global, national and local levels “to find solutions for agrifood systems that are responsive to, and supportive of, health measures. Africa’s youth agripreneurs have a huge role to play.”

Svein Tore Holsether, president and CEO of Yara International, comments: “We have decided to go ahead with the 2020 GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize Competition. Not despite the coronavirus, but because of it.

“Now, more than ever, we need to support African agrifood entrepreneurs and the small and medium agribusinesses on the continent. They are the people who produce food and get it to the people who need it. They will be the people who help to rebuild our economies after the pandemic is over.”

Further, the organisers say the 2020 GoGettaz Agripreneur prize competition will acknowledge two innovative ventures, one led by a man and one led by a woman, who founded or co-founded companies in the agrifood sector in Africa.

“The winners will each be awarded a grand prize of $50 000, along with an industry-leading support network to take their businesses to the next level.”

With the competition, Generation Africa says it wants to inspire and nurture young entrepreneurs in Africa’s agrifood sector, from sapling businesses to companies that have already firmly taken root.

“Agrifood is more than an essential business in this global pandemic, it is urgent for survival," says Strive Masiyiwa, founder and executive chairman of Econet. "Our African agribusinesses must stay strong and innovate to meet growing food needs locally, across the whole value chain. With forex income impacted by COVID-19, our nations can no longer rely on imports to feed our people. Now is the time for Africa's entrepreneurs to see and seize new opportunities."

The GoGettaz Agripreneur prize competition is open to agrifood entrepreneurs, aged 18 to 35 from across Africa. Applications can be submitted to the competition through its Web site. Ten finalists will be invited to compete in a live or virtual (online) pitching contest at the Africa Green Revolution Forum Summit in September.