By Ben White on June 20, 2012
The Humanist Institute for Development Cooperation (Hivos), a leading Dutch organisation with a worldwide presence, and its partner organization Venture Capital for Africa (VC4Africa.biz), the leading Africa focused business community for entrepreneurs and investors, are pleased to announce CESACOPA the winner of 2012 Incubator Award.
CESACOPA is a coffee cooperative located in Amboim province, Angola. The main objective of the CESACOPA project is to increase coffee quality standards for export while at the same time making a clear contribution to the community e.g., employment generation and pollution abatement. The coffee is produced without use of chemicals or pesticides and the fertilizer used is organic. It is also noted that the project impacts some 6000 families as direct beneficiaries. Leo Soldaat, the Senior Advisor of Financial Services at Hivos, explained, ‘At Hivos, we stand for supporting entrepreneurial activities with important impact in the areas of poverty, climate change and food security. Our focus is on people living in rural areas and CESACOPA is an example of a promising initiative taking these challenges head on.’
This prestigious award was presided over by a panel of international experts and the winner received a cash prize of US$15,000. From the five shortlisted ventures, the audience clearly recognized the efforts of this cooperative to revitalize one of Angola’s most promising cash crops. The prize money will be spent installing a small coffee laboratory needed to increase the quality of the coffee. The project promoter Anastácio Roque Gonçalves explained, ‘This project aims to obtain a coffee grader machine and install a small coffee laboratory. These tools will help the export chain and create the proper environment for fair trade and coffee certification. This will reduce many logistic costs.’ The crowd cheered when CESACOPA was announced the winner and Anastácio was congratulated by many of the delegates after he gave an inspiring speech. ‘We are here to show the work we are doing and to making peoples lives better. Thank you.’
World coffee demand is now just exceeding supply and prices have been increasing. Coffee is one of Angola’s largest agricultural products and the country was the third largest producer of coffee until 1973. The changes in the market creates a timely opportunity to revitalize one of the countries most lucrative exports. Plantation and production of coffee contributed largely to the economy of Angola’s northwestern area, including the Uíge Province, during colonial times. Coffee production was started by the Portuguese in 1830s and soon became a cash crop with some 2000 odd plantations at peak production. Angola was one of the largest coffee producing countries in Africa in the 1970s until the plantations were devastated by the civil war for independence from the Portuguese. Many coffee agronomists migrated to Brazil and the plantations have since deteriorated. Rehabilitation of the plantations started again in 2000, but the investment required to replace the 40 year old unproductive plants is estimated to be US$ 230 million. With the opening up of new roads, industrial and farming activity is starting to take shape again and its promising to see efforts like CESACOPA move forward.
This year’s African Finance and Investment Forum, held on the 18th of June at the Rabobank Headquarters in the Netherlands, gathered leading global representatives from a variety of sectors to highlight the financial tools, solutions and growing policy trends needed to ensure economic growth for Africa’s SMEs. The discussions and proposals highlighted at the forum are essential for a cross section of African sectors and look at concrete strategies needed to establish their full economic potential. The Rabobank Foundation, Centenary Bank, Global Development Cooperative, the World Bank, GIZ (German International Cooperation Organisation), FARA and the Shell Foundation are just a few of the organisations that attended the AFIF this year.
For more information visit the website of EMRC.