Saveur du Kivu - DRC coffee on the rise

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Saveur du Kivu - DRC coffee on the rise

Saveur du Kivu (SduK) is a celebration of the reemergence of coffee in the Democratic Republic of Congo. As the specialty coffee cupping competition and annual meeting for representatives throughout the international supply chain, the event supports the construction of DRC’s specialty coffee industry, producing some of the world's finest Arabica coffee.

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The event’s results speak for themselves having grown the event to now attract around 200 participants in the current edition, collecting 73 qualified coffee samples that adhere to globally accepted industry standards, up from 30 in 2016 and helping grow Congolese coffee exports by over 25% since the first Saveur du Kivu.

Genesis

Saveur du Kivu was first conceived in 2015 by Higher Grounds Trading Co, Twin Trading, Eastern Congo Initiative (ECI), USAID-funded Kahawa Bora Ya Kivu (KBYK), partners throughout the donor and technical assistance community, and the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as an event that would celebrate progress and promote collaboration and collective action to realize a more inclusive, competitive, and reliable coffee sector.  Initially led by those noted above, ELAN RDC has been involved in supporting and guiding the group to integrate perspectives throughout the value chain to highlight the importance of the many interdependent relationships that are key to realizing SduK’s vision and foster stronger ties for actors at each stage of the vale chain and expand the industry-wide marketing effort.

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With the participation of representatives from producer groups (cooperatives), national government, international technical assistance and donor communities, and global coffee buyers, trust, from face-to-face interactions, can be built throughout the entire supply chain, further supporting the reemergence of a sustainable specialty coffee industry in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This is realized through collective efforts to improve trust through transparency through interventions such as the Congo Coffee Atlas, ELAN’s Digital Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) Campaign, traceability systems, and the grander effort to significantly increase visibility for all actors, and improve the quality and flow of information to all actors throughout the value chain.

Potential

Historically, Congo’s coffee sector has had strong and reliable actors throughout the value chain. Unfortunately, systemic constraints, instability, crop-specific disease, and a lack of key information for buyers to navigate the market and establish direct trade linkages have slowed progress and led to a decline in what was once DRC’s second most valuable export at its peak in the 1980s. Official Congolese coffee production fell from about 130,000 metric tons in the 1980s to about 11,000 metric tons in 2016, according to one of Congo’s major exporters, CoffeeLac. However, in recent years, regulatory reforms, industry-wide coordinated efforts to promote the adoption and proliferation of best practices, and investments leading to the introduction of improved tools and equipment have dramatically shifted direction. As Congo’s coffee crops are reemerging as stronger, more reliable, and of higher quality, the value chains and actors are becoming ever more inclusive and collaborative.

Evolution

After launching Saveur du Kivu in 2015, the 2018 edition from June 11-13 in Bukavu, the fourth iteration, has evolved from principally focusing on producers to supporting inclusive and collaborative discussions between the public and private sectors and includes all voices throughout the value chain—from producers to roasters and retailers. This celebration of progress and annual specialty coffee cupping competition have become a staple event for producers, exporters, buyers, regulators, and the donor community.

Along the way, the architects of direct trade coffees including Counter Culture, Intelligentsia, and Stumptown, as well as other leading coffee companies such as Higher Grounds Trading Co., Kivu Coffee, LetSequoia, Starbucks, Strauss Coffee, Twin Trading, have been deepening their engagement with producers and exporters, leading to increased sourcing of Congolese coffees and better telling the story of Congolese coffee and culture. This is the dividend for Congolese coffee from the investment in trust over the past few years at SduK.

Through the four years of evolution, Saveur du Kivu has institutionalized itself as an event that is no longer exclusively a donor-driven event into an industry-driven event that is led by stakeholders who are willing to assume costs associated with representation and attendance due to value realized year on year, and their desire to engage with actors during the annual celebration during Saveur du Kivu.

SduK by the numbers

During these four years a lot has been accomplished.

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  • IFCCA was softly launched at 2017 SduK and has now been formally established as an industry-led association of women in coffee and cocoa. IFCCA is leading the planning and production of this year’s exposition—a first for SduK.
  • Over 25%: Growth in Congolese coffee exports since the first SduK
  • 50,000: Number of farmers in eastern Congo already members of coffee-growing cooperatives
  • 70: Qualified coffee samples collected in 2018 that adhere to globally accepted industry standards, up from 30 in 2016
  • 100+: Number of legitimate and registered washing stations; an increase from 7 in 2011
  • ~200: Number of SduK attendees this year alone

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Microfinance for affordable housing, soon a reality in the DRC

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Microfinance for affordable housing, soon a reality in the DRC

The Democratic Republic of Congo has a housing deficit estimated in the millions of units. According to UNDP projections on population growth in the DRC, this deficit will only grow larger given the average annual population growth rate estimated at 3.1%, fueled by a fertility rate of 6.30 infants per woman.

Indeed, the Congolese population could double in the next 25 years, going from 77.3 million to nearly 132 million. This rapid population growth is in contrast to the slow progress of urban housing development and has led to the development of slums in suburban areas. More than 40% of the Congolese population live in cities and this number could reach 60% in the next 20 years. This situation poses enormous challenges for urban planning and creates opportunities for the housing market. For example, Kinshasa city represents an estimated at 54.4% of the overall deficit, or 140,000 housing units to be built per year.

Despite this market opportunity, banks and microfinance institutions do not yet offer housing products that meet the needs of low-income populations and micro-entrepreneurs. This discrepancy is largely due to lack of expertise and knowledge of the market by local actors all along the construction materials value chain, non-existence of long-term funding, absence of appropriate risk-sharing mechanisms, as well as a weak national political context.

In order to bring sustainable and lasting solutions to these market constraints, ELAN RDC is coordinating with specialized institutions providing technical assistance services for inclusive housing finance, including Habitat for Humanity’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter and the Center for Financing Affordable Housing in Africa (CAHF).  These joint efforts aim to develop new solutions to facilitate the development of the housing finance segment for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and low-income households in the DRC, in collaboration with local financial institutions.

In October 2017 in Kinshasa, ELAN RDC and Habitat for Humanity’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter tested the market response and the financial sector’s appetite to finance affordable housing, by inviting financial institutions and donors to reflect on the feasibility of the initiative at a forum on microfinance for housing.  

As a result of the forum, ELAN RDC, Habitat for Humanity’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter and CAHF agreed to deepen their understanding the needs of the population through market research and an evaluation of the capacity of financial institutions active or interested in inclusive housing financing in the DRC.

Habitat for Humanity’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter and the CAHF bring to the DRC their accumulated international expertise in markets similar to the DRC, with the aim of developing a lasting strategy for financing affordable housing for all, based on local conditions.

ELAN RDC, Habitat for Humanity’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter and CAHF will work closely with other market actors to meet these challenges and develop financial and non-financial solutions to expand the housing finance market.

As a result of the forum, ELAN RDC, Habitat for Humanity’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter and CAHF agreed to deepen their understanding the needs of the population through market research and an evaluation of the capacity of financial institutions active or interested in inclusive housing financing in the DRC.

Habitat for Humanity’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter and the CAHF bring to the DRC their accumulated international expertise in markets similar to the DRC, with the aim of developing a lasting strategy for financing affordable housing for all, based on local conditions.

ELAN RDC, Habitat for Humanity’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter and CAHF will work closely with other market actors to meet these challenges and develop financial and non-financial solutions to expand the housing finance market.

Click here for the PDF version of the press release.

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La microfinance pour l’habitat abordable, bientôt une réalité en RDC

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La microfinance pour l’habitat abordable, bientôt une réalité en RDC

La République Démocratique du Congo a un déficit de logement estimé à des millions d'unités. Selon les projections du PNUD sur la croissance démographique en RDC, ce déficit ne fera que s’accroitre en raison du taux de croissance annuel moyen de la population estimé à 3,1%, alimenté par un taux de fécondité de 6,30 enfants par femme.

En effet, la population congolaise pourrait doubler dans les 25 prochaines années, passant de 77,3 millions à près de 132 millions. Cette croissance démographique contraste avec les faibles progrès d’urbanisation et de développement des bidonvilles dans les zones périurbaines. Plus de 40% de la population congolaise vit dans les villes et ce nombre pourrait atteindre 60% dans les 20 prochaines années. Cette situation pose des défis énormes de planification urbaine et engendre des opportunités pour le marché du logement. A titre d’exemple, les besoins de la ville de Kinshasa sont estimés à 54,4% du déficit global, soit 140.000 logements à construire par an.

Malgré ces opportunités, les banques et les Institutions de Microfinance n’offrent pas encore de produits de logement adaptés aux besoins des populations à faible revenu et des micro-entrepreneurs. Ce déficit s’explique en grande partie par le manque d’expertise et de connaissance du marché des acteurs locaux (y compris sur la chaîne de valeur de production des matériaux de construction), l’absence de sources de financement à long terme, l’inexistence de mécanismes appropriés de partage des risques, ainsi qu’un contexte politique fragile à l’échelle nationale.

Afin d’apporter des solutions durables et pérennes aux contraintes du marché susmentionnées, ÉLAN RDC, en synergie avec des organismes spécialisés dans la fourniture de services d’assistance technique pour le financement inclusif du logement, notamment Habitat for Humanity’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter et le Centre pour le Financement du Logement Abordable en Afrique (CAHF) joignent leurs efforts pour développer de nouvelles solutions visant à faciliter le développement du segment de financement de l’habitat pour les promoteurs des Micro, Petites et Moyennes Entreprises et ménages à faibles revenu en RDC en collaboration avec quelques institutions financières locales.

Pour tester l’appétit du marché et des acteurs du secteur financier sur le financement du logement abordable, ÉLAN RDC et Habitat for Humanity’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter ont invité quelques institutions financières et bailleurs de fonds à la réflexion sur les modalités de faisabilité de l’initiative dans le cadre d’un forum sur la Microfinance pour l’habitat organisé en octobre 2017 à Kinshasa.

A la suite de ces travaux, ÉLAN RDC, Habitat for Humanity’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter et CAHF ont convenu d’approfondir la compréhension des besoins de la population à travers des études de marché et l’évaluation des capacités institutionnelles des institutions financières actives ou intéressées par le financement inclusif du logement en RDC.  

Habitat for Humanity’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter et le CAHF apportent à la RDC leur expertise internationale accumulée sur des marchés similaires à la RDC afin de développer une stratégie pérenne de financement de l’habitat abordable pour tous qui tienne compte des spécificités locales.

ÉLAN RDC, Habitat for Humanity’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter et CAHF travailleront en étroite collaboration avec d’autres acteurs du marché afin de pouvoir relever ces défis et de développer des solutions financières et non financières pour l’éclosion du marché du financement de l’habitat. 

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Lighting-up Kananga and the rest of DRC

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Lighting-up Kananga and the rest of DRC

 A speed pitching round at Lighting up Kananga

A speed pitching round at Lighting up Kananga

In May, eight of ELAN’s renewable energy partners participated in a business mission, “Lighting up Kananga,” to explore and capture the large Kasai Central market and provide quality solutions to the provincial energy shortages.

The partners networked with the provincial government, local economic players and opinion leaders, as well as a breadth of potential distributors. Over the three-day mission partners collectively signed over 30 distribution agreements, registering thousands of dollars’ worth of purchases. Some partners have already recruited local focal points to facilitate the distribution and sale of the products, while improved cookstove actors are exploring how to produce parts of their cookstoves locally. The participants are interested in replicating this event in other towns, including Mbuji Mayi and Tshikapa.

In addition, our partner, BBOXX DRC just announced a partnership with the government, represented by its Minister of Rural Development Justin Bitakwira, to provide 2.5 million Congolese with electricity by 2020 as part of the #EnergyPourTous project.

We would also like to congratulate our partner Altech, the 2018 winner of SwissRe Foundation's Entrepreneurs for Resilience Award.

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Congo Coffee Atlas gaining traction and more decision-making data

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Congo Coffee Atlas gaining traction and more decision-making data

 Screenshot of Congo Coffee Atlas

Screenshot of Congo Coffee Atlas

Following last year’s launch of the Coffee Atlas, requests from leading exporters, industry associations, and public, private, and nonprofit stakeholders to incorporate the tool into their respective websites continue to increase. In addition to being available on the design and development partners’ sites, Eastern Congo Initiative (ECI) and ELAN RDC, the tool was recently added to multiple partners’ websites, including Saveur du Kivu, DRC’s premier specialty coffee cupping event, and the Association des Exportateurs du Cacao & Café de la R.D. Cong (ASSECCAF).

To support industry efforts to improve availability, access and quality of key market information, ELAN RDC is teaming with industry exporters to launch the Domestic Processing and Consumption Analysis in June. Developed alongside industry stakeholders, the comprehensive analysis will explore multiple segments of the domestic cocoa and coffee processing and consumption markets throughout seven major population centers. Findings will put forward actionable insights from which existing processors and those interested in directing investments can act and/or make more informed decisions and target specific market segments.

This market data – to be featured during International Coffee Day events on October 1, 2018 – will be available to local, national, and international buyers, as well as public and private-sector actors, and can drive domestic processing and processor capacity, and promote increased availability of finished coffee and cocoa products for populations throughout DRC.

 Also launching in June is the Cocoa and Coffee Supply Chain Digitization Analysis. The study, developed in collaboration with the Branchless Banking, SME Finance, and Specialty Crops teams at ELAN RDC, will present a clear roadmap for the digitization of cash payments within the cocoa and coffee value chains, accelerating financial inclusion for small producers throughout North and South Kivu. The multi-tiered roadmaps will highlight ways digital agricultural strategies can drive financial inclusion for farmers while increasing profitability of coffee and cocoa operators through reduced costs and streamlined supply chains.

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Dial 1-5-5 for information on mobile money

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Dial 1-5-5 for information on mobile money

At the beginning of May mobile money content was officially launched on the 1-5-5 platform as part of ELAN RDC’s consumer financial education initiative which was started back in 2016.

In DRC, Viamo offers a free on-demand Interactive Voice Response (IVR) service called 1-5-5. By dialing a toll-free short-code, 155, all ~12.4 million Vodacom subscribers can access validated content, including content specific to financial inclusion. Callers can easily navigate a menu of topic options (“for financial education press 1, …”) to reach their content.

The newly available content, in addition to the financial education messages already available, covers basic information about mobile money, including what is mobile money, what are its advantages, how secure is it, how to open an account and how to cash in and out.

With free audio messages in five local languages, recorded by native speakers, the IVR channel, makes information available on-demand to people with limited literacy and on the most basic phones.

Given the constraints in the DRC, including significant language and literacy barriers and extremely limited transportation infrastructure, the 1-5-5 service is perfectly tailored to the environment.

Call 1-5-5 now with your Vodacom SIM card and give it a try!

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Convincing smallholders to invest in their next harvest

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Convincing smallholders to invest in their next harvest

 Field days at one of the demo plots

Field days at one of the demo plots

ÉLAN RDC supports seed multipliers to improve smallholder farmers’ access to quality inputs. In May, with the maize harvest about to start in the South Region, farmers gathered around demo plots for performance evaluations of different cultivars, and to see the improved results achieved when using quality inputs and applying good agriculture practices.

In the Haut-Katanga and Lualaba provinces, more than 150 demo plots were managed by four different seed multipliers that partner with ÉLAN RDC. The partners organized field days at several demo plots to show the yields and to provide technical advice.

The sales season in the South Region starts in October, but ÉLAN RDC’s partners have already begun preparing. The partners are hoping to convince a larger percentage of small holder farmers to use high-quality seeds in 2018 thanks to a marketing campaign directly targeting smallholder farmers and by selling smaller more affordable packages.

Some of the same seed companies were in attendance at the Katanga Business Meeting (May 24-26), which provided another opportunity to increase awareness of their products with the larger business community. ÉLAN RDC partnered with three seed companies and one agribusiness to exhibit products during this event.

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Shipping agricultural products more efficiently

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Shipping agricultural products more efficiently

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In 2018 ELAN launched an intervention in Kimpese, Kongo-Central, to improve the aggregation and the shipment of agricultural products to Kinshasa through the implementation of a new logistics platform. ELAN RDC is working with two partners in this intervention: CRAFOD and GTM. CRAFOD is a local NGO that assists small producers in the region and manages a network of warehouses aimed at optimising the aggregation and commercialisation of agricultural products. GTM is a transport and logistics company with the capacity to develop a new logistics platform designed to increase the number of well-coordinated shipments.

ELAN RDC has worked with CRAFOD to help them better coordinate the aggregation of agricultural products and with the preparation of post-harvest best practice training sessions for villages surrounding Kimpese, to ensure higher quality agricultural products are shipped. ELAN RDC has also connected CRAFOD with traders’ associations in some markets in Kinshasa, which should help them diversify their customer base helping to ensure the commercial sustainability of the model.

The first shipment of bags of manioc arrived in Kinshasa earlier this year, but the team has been working to further refine the intervention. Thanks to the team’s continued work with the partners we hope to see the intervention to expand beyond its pilot.

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ELAN RDC Newsletter - What's happening in the market?

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ELAN RDC Newsletter - What's happening in the market?

Welcome to the ÉLAN RDC (“DRC Momentum” in French) monthly newsletter! 

Designed to increase the income of over 1 million poor smallholder producers, entrepreneurs and consumers, ÉLAN RDC is a UK Aid market systems development project tackling the root causes of market failures and constraints to inclusive growth in the DRC.

We work with the private sector to design, pilot and scale new business models that increase income, create jobs and lower prices for the poorest.

Please enjoy the updates from the different sectors where we work.

Sector updates

RENEWABLE ENERGY:
Teaching the benefits of solar through participatory theater
One of ELAN RDC’s partners in the renewable energy sector, Dev Solaire, recently launched an awareness campaign in schools. The campaign reaching 11 schools (5 in Kolwezi and 6 in Lubumbashi) targets 5th and 6th grades teaching students about the benefits of solar lamps, with the aim of also reaching their parents.

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The use of a participatory theater troupe during the students’ recreation makes the campaign unique and actively engages the students to explain what is solar energy.

Following the participatory theater event, the 5th and 6th-grade students will have a turn to take a sample lamp home for a one-day test, allowing 1,300 targeted families to each be able to test a lamp. Parents who have tested the lamp will complete an appraisal sheet with their contact information if they are interested in purchasing a lamp.

To follow up on the campaign, ELAN RDC’s Monitoring & Results Measurement (MRM) team will carry out an analysis of the impact resulting from the increased awareness in families having tested the lamp, the families of primary school children in general, as well as their close networks

SME FINANCE:
Catalysing the start-up ecosystem
Ingenious City is a business incubation and co-working space supported by ÉLAN RDC that will host various start-ups. It is an open platform where entrepreneurs will receive high-quality training and mentoring while connecting with other entrepreneurs and different actors within the entrepreneurial ecosystem in DRC as well as abroad.

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The founders of Ingenious City are three successful businessmen that are teaming up with a number of existing incubators in Kinshasa to provide a world-class physical space within the Procoki complex. Their goal is to become a reference point for the local startup ecosystem as well as for foreign investors seeking to know more about the opportunities within DRC.

ÉLAN RDC is providing Ingenious City with technical assistance and capacity building to contribute to the sustainability of the project. Providing entrepreneurs with the right tools will increase their probability of success while demonstrating to young Congolese that entrepreneurship is a valuable and a viable option. 

Ingenious City is also the new Seedstars ambassador for DRC and ÉLAN RDC will be working with them to make the 2018 edition of this exciting competition a success. Please follow IngeniousCity on all social media as well as on their website: www.IngeniousCity.com !

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TRANSPORT:
Financing a more productive Congo River
ELAN recently organised a workshop with five local banks, aimed at presenting the business opportunities in the Congolese river transport sector. The workshop drew on ELAN’s three years of experience supporting financial institutions with product design for a sector that is both vital for Congo’s economy, but also considered very high-risk. The workshop included discussion of the lessons learned from ELAN RDC’s collaboration with ProCredit Bank, which began in 2015 to help develop financial products specifically designed to meet the needs of river transportation actors, as well as identify sector-specific risk indicators. The tailored financial products developed as part of the partnership met actors’ working capital needs as well as some of their need for further investment.

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BRANCHLESS BANKING:
Financial inclusion for refugees?
ELAN RDC has been working with humanitarian and private-sector partners on a mobile money cash transfer program for refugees. This initiative is the first field pilot resulting from ELAN RDC’s branchless banking markets in crisis strategy developed at a January 2018 workshop in Katanga and publicly shared during the March 2018 forum in Kinshasa on private-sector solutions for the humanitarian market in DRC. If fully implemented, refugees would receive a cellphone and SIM card and instead of receiving cash transfers receive mobile money. They would then be able to make purchases at local vendors who are set up to accept mobile money. The goal of the intervention is to prove that refugees can become steady mobile money users, leading to a more efficient ecosystem in the long-term, and expanding financial inclusion for some of the most vulnerable populations.

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AGRICULTURE (SPECIALTY CROPS):
Raising Congolese coffee’s profile globally
In concert with ELAN RDC’s Nadine Lusi’s effort as the Steering Committee Coordinator, the Specialty Crops team has been busy planning this year’s Saveur du Kivu, DRC’s premier coffee cupping competition and industry forum that attracts global buyers and brings public and private-sector actors, including producers, together in Bukavu each year.

ELAN RDC’s East regional manager, Roland Muhima, represented the project and partners at the 2018 Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) Expo in Seattle, one of the global coffee industry’s most important events. After making introductions between partners and major buyers and sharing opportunities within DRC’s flourishing coffee industry, we hope to see more buyers at Saveur du Kivu thanks to ELAN’s representation in Seattle.

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AGRICULTURE (GRAINS & HORTICULTURE):
Selling improved maize seeds in the Equateur region
PROSAVIDE (Promotion, Santé, Vivre, Infrastructure pour Demain), has sold nearly 10 tons of improved seed this season in and around the northern Congolese town of Lisala. In partnership with ELAN RDC, PROSAVIDE has been implementing an intervention in Lisala. PROSAVIDE was selling improved seed through nine shops, but with ELAN’s support, changed its product line and its sales model, adopting a marketing scheme including a mobile sales force, demonstration fields, improved signage and radio spots and now sells through 30 shops. Based on the initial pilot, farmers using PROSAVIDE’s seeds, coupled with Good Agricultural Practices, can expect to approximately double their previous yields.

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Inaugural Kinshasa Digital Week highlights ELAN RDC’s partners’ work

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Inaugural Kinshasa Digital Week highlights ELAN RDC’s partners’ work

On March 22 and 23, ELAN RDC attended the first edition of the Kinshasa Digital Week, an event to connect the main actors of the digital ecosystem in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The event, which included a start-up competition, brought together businesses and entrepreneurs to discuss the current Congolese business and tech environments, their challenges, and strategies to foster Kinshasa's tech ecosystem. The vibrant forum connected national and international actors and resulted in productive discussions on how to best address the challenges. 

One of the event’s clear takeaways, is that quality training and support for young entrepreneurs are necessary for the ecosystem to further develop. Through promoting sustainable and inclusive economic development, ELAN RDC has already begun addressing these takeaways through its support of Solvay Business School and Ingenious City. Solvay is carrying out an analysis of the digital technology training needs for businesses in DRC. Ingenious City, opening in May, is a space in Kinshasa where business incubators will provide tailored training and mentoring to help entrepreneurs build scalable businesses that solve real problems. Ingenious City will provide a space where entrepreneurs can learn and work together, receive training and mentoring, access office services and connect with other like-minded people, all under one roof.

ELAN will publish Solvay’s report on the digital technology training needs for businesses in DRC when the final version is ready.

For more on Ingenious City, check out their website: http://ingeniouscity.com/
 

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