NAIROBI, Kenya, November 4 – Two Kenyan startups have been selected as finalists and semi-finalists in the ongoing competition for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Caravan Prize.
The two, Tekizo Africa Limited and NANASI were chosen from a pool of 1,500 companies across the continent.
Tekizo Africa Limited led by Dennis Onkangi Onkundi placed eighth among the top 10 finalists. The Mombasa-based company manufactures and distributes solar-powered coolers (Kuza Freezer) to small-scale fishermen, providing them with sustainable cooling services during and after fishing aimed at reducing post-harvest loss of fish and improving food security.
For his part, NANASI of Alex Mativo took second position out of 10 semi-finalists. Nanasi is an operating system for restaurants and retail businesses in Africa. The system provides an all-in-one platform for restaurants and retail businesses to unify their sales and engagement channels, manage basic day-to-day operations, and grow with smart insights.
The AfCFTA Caravan Initiative, which itself is a flagship of the larger 4D Initiative led by the African Union, has a platform (www.afcfta.app) that aims to stimulate small businesses and startups in Africa by providing an extensive software infrastructure to help them grow beyond their home countries. The AfCFTA caravan award is a component of the larger Initiative and targets a few of the businesses supported with more intensive support and cash grants.
The AfCFTA Secretariat and its partners from the 4D, ProPer and Caravan initiatives, AfroChampions and the Arab Bank for Economic Development (BADEA) have announced the finalists and semi-finalists.
“The AfCFTA Caravan Initiative itself is designed to ultimately offer more than the token cash grants and recognition that the award winners have received. In conjunction with the other elements of the 4D Agenda, it provides a toolbox for startups and SMEs to thrive in a more connected ecosystem. Through tailor-made digital platforms and targeted policy interventions, governments, businesses, financial institutions and standards organizations are able to coordinate their SME and start-up programs in multiple countries to create corridors for the trade, commerce and investment across Africa. In doing so, more advanced regional value chains are built and greener, cleaner and increasingly skilled jobs are created. The gains are bolstered by supporting initiatives such as ProPer, which guarantees quality in these supply chains, and Nefertiti, a program specializing in intellectual property and the creative economy, ”said the Caravan Prize committee.
The criteria for selecting finalists and semi-finalists were based on the ability of an organization and its founders to design and implement models, concepts, plans, products and / or services that, to a large extent scale, can contribute to the objectives of AfCFTA and Agenda 2063 at large. of the African Union, of which the AfCFTA is a flagship.
The finalists and semi-finalists were selected by jurors with a wealth of experience in the development and economic transformation sectors.
“If there is one hope that drives everything we do as a Secretariat, it is that the AfCFTA must become the most inclusive and digital free trade area and process in the world. By focusing on SMEs, digital innovation, gender and equitable transformation, the AfCFTA caravan award will serve as a continental beacon for Agenda 2063. I celebrate the award winners for sharing our vision and I thanks the jury and partners for taking up the challenge, ”said Wamkele Mene, secretary general of the AfCFTA secretariat.