AFEX, Africa’s leading commodities exchange and commodities market player, has announced its expansion into Uganda, seven months after it first entered the East African continent. Similar to Kenya and Nigeria, farmers in Uganda will benefit from AFEX’s revolutionary tech-enabled services for agricultural producers. In its first year of operations, AFEX Uganda aims to reach 10,000 farmers and aggregate 15,000 metric tons of commodities, while extending its aggregation, storage, and financial inclusion services to Ugandan farmers and processors.
Continuing its pan-African expansion plans, AFEX will be implementing its scalable model that combines advanced technology and infrastructure with a unique understanding of Africa’s food systems and local markets to replicate its successes in Nigeria and Kenya to Uganda. Working closely with local and international partners, the operation will focus on maize, sorghum, soybeans, barley, and coffee, with maize being the initial priority.
(TOP: Abdul-Hafeez Odunsanya, the MD of AFEX Uganda. ABOVE: From L – R – Tabitha Njuguna, MD, AFEX Kenya; AbdulHafeez Odunsanya, MD, AFEX Uganda; and OluBanke Aje, CFO, AFEX).
According to the International Trade Administration, Uganda is lacking the necessary infrastructure in storage, credit, and access to markets to sustain food production. To begin tackling these issues, AFEX Uganda has established warehouses in Bulambuli and Kapchorwa districts in Eastern Uganda, and in the Lira district of Northern Uganda. Under the leadership of Abdul-Hafeez Odusanya, the MD of AFEX Uganda, AFEX will be introducing its range of solutions including its technology platform, WorkBench, to enable farmers to participate in market opportunities and scale their operations.
Starting with a network of over 1500 farmers, AFEX Uganda will be addressing the following problems:
Reducing post-harvest losses by providing storage facilities
Providing access to loans for farmers to purchase quality farming inputs including agrochemicals, fertiliser, and seedlings
Provision of advisory and extension services to tackle poor agricultural practices and post-harvest handling practices.
Access to markets for smallholder farmers, with transparent prices
High quality and traceable supply of food and feed grade commodities to processors
Abdul-Hafeez Odusanya, the AFEX Uganda MD, expressed excitement about the new opportunity: “I’m thrilled to be leading the next stage of growth for AFEX in East Africa and eager to see how Uganda’s success contributes to AFEX’s portfolio of innovative food system interventions. I’m confident AFEX Uganda will contribute massively to building an inclusive and efficient market system, giving Ugandan farmers the support and infrastructure they need to improve efficiency and access bigger markets,” he revealed.
Often referred to as Africa’s ‘bread basket,’ Uganda has one of the most dynamic commodities markets in Africa with a significant potential for growth, and a positive government interest in commercialising agriculture through collaboration with private sector players. In the first quarter of 2022, agriculture accounted for 24% of the country’s GDP. In addition, the government has ratified the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCTA) and the East African Community Customs Union which provides access to the international market.
Since inception, AFEX’s focus has been to establish a strong foothold across Africa, and AFEX Uganda is the latest in a series of planned expansion to 10 African countries over the next 5 years. In restructuring for the future and to provide efficiency and focus on the regions, AFEX has announced new appointments and internal promotions among its leadership.
Appointed in October 2022, Sanne Steemers is now President, Rest of Africa, overseeing the expansion across the continent; while Akinyinka David Akintunde (previously Chief Operating Officer) has become President, AFEX Nigeria, responsible for all operations in the West African country. Ayodeji Balogun, the CEO, has been appointed Group CEO, heading all entities globally.
Speaking of her new responsibilities, Sanne Steemers said: ”With twenty years’ experience working at the intersection of global supply chains, finance and agricultural commodities, I’m very excited to be joining AFEX as we expand into yet another market, and look forward to driving the expansion across the rest of Africa. In just a few years, AFEX has achieved exemplary success in Nigeria and Kenya, I’m looking forward to adapting these winning strategies, services and approach to service farmers, processors and partners in Uganda and beyond.”
AFEX harnesses Africa’s commodities and talent to build shared wealth and prosperity. Its infrastructure and platform investments work to unlock capital to power a trust economy in Africa’s commodities markets. Since its inception in 2014, AFEX has developed and deployed a viable commodities exchange model for the West African market and is on track to impact one million producers; providing services in productivity and value capture and access to finance and markets. By deploying an efficient market system, the company will facilitate trade with Africa worth over $500 million in the next five years.
AFEX’s vision is to be the reference point for commodities in Africa. To achieve this goal, AFEX looks to introduce products that de-risk the sector, drive financial inclusion for rural communities, develop technology for data collection and market access, and enable capital deployment.