Could precedent-setting partnership between British Red Cross and Aspuna Group signify the dawning of a new era for impact pioneering on food security?
[London, England and Zambesi region, Namibia, 3 January 2022] Aspuna Group, the world’s first social impact asset management company, has started working with the British Red Cross on a pioneering food security operation . The pilot partnership sees Aspuna Group steering local consultants to complete an agri-processing market and value chain analysis in the Zambesi region of Namibia with a view to co-investing in processing capacity. This is the first time the charity has partnered with a private sector mission-driven business in the agri-processing space. Both hope it will set a global precedent.
Aspuna Group, a practitioner-led social impact asset manager committed to co-creating a thriving sustainable agriculture sector across Sub-Saharan Africa, already co-owns agri-processing plants in The Gambia, Nigeria, and Tanzania. Their unique co-investment/ knowledge-sharing business model has attracted governmental departments and agri-processing businesses across the region. This latest pilot partnership signifies a step towards their vision of a world where all globally traded commodities add social and economic value to the communities they’re from. For British Red Cross, it offers a new way to empower small scale farmers within communities vulnerable to food shortages to create sustainable businesses that improve their region’s food security.
“We’re already working with private businesses who share our values and governmental departments. We hope that this partnership with a major third sector organisation will set a precedent for ourselves and the development sector in general,” said Maria-Yassin Jah, CEO and co-founder of Aspuna Group.
“The collaboration is much in line with our activities elsewhere in Africa. We invest in building sustainable processing capacity within rural communities and we implement innovative agricultural systems that positively impact profit, people and the planet. Whilst this initial collaboration with British Red Cross focuses on assessing the agri-processing value chain in one region of Namibia, the plan is for us to be part of the implementation too. By this we mean co-investing with the British Red Cross in agri-processing plants that meet UN SDG goals and enable small scale farmers to build sustainable businesses,” she adds.
For the British Red Cross’s food security operation, the collaboration is enabling a new way of working, according to Naziha El Moussaoui, a food security and livelihoods technical advisor at British Red Cross.
“British Red Cross is known for our work supporting people in crises. The Zambesi area of Namibia is a region regularly affected by droughts, leading to recurrent food shortages, impacting people’s health and livelihoods. We have supported in the region for over ten years, providing food and cash assistance for the short term – but we saw the potential to do things differently.
“As part of this collaboration with Aspuna, we will be supporting small scale farmers in the region to better store their harvest, and to get more value from it by processing, marketing, and selling it themselves. Developing sustainable businesses that are not totally reliant on each year’s crop will mean regular income and better food security for these farmers.”
The British Red Cross food security operations see here a new way to collaborate with private business but Aspuna Group is no ordinary private enterprise, and it is perfectly set up to help British Red Cross realize this long-term aim in Namibia.
As Ms El Moussaoui says: “Registered as a social impact business from day one, Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investing is part of Aspuna’s core principles. It’s practitioner-led too. This was vital to our agreement as we know its team of engineering, agri-tech and investment experts roll up their sleeves and make innovation happen. This co-investment and knowledge-sharing offering is unique.”
Whilst this project represents Aspuna’s first appearance in Southwest Africa, a milestone in itself, both parties believe that this evolving style of impact pioneering can effectively drive forward economic development beyond the region.
To find out more about Aspuna Group’s innovative model, visit www.aspuna.com.
Aspuna press contact: Nicki Hayes | firstname.lastname@example.org | +44 (0)7870154453
Notes to editors
Photos and interviews available upon request.
Aspuna Group is a social impact commodities asset management business with a proven model for making trading fair. At the heart of its approach is the building of processing capacity to keep value addition within the regions where raw materials originate. Steadily growing its presence in Africa, Aspuna now owns and manages agri-processing factories in The Gambia, Nigeria, and Tanzania.
The business has strong and fair partnerships with its local suppliers and producers, placing great emphasis on socially responsible processing and trading. Purchasing Aspuna’s locally processed commodities has a direct social impact on the livelihoods of small-holder farmers and their wider communities. Additionally, the organisation’s relatively small manufacturing operations allow for a greater degree of transparency and traceability – two aspects that have gained enormously in significance over the past few years.
Fast-growing, with headquarters in London, Aspuna Group is a University of Cambridge Executive MBA spin-out. Its core team consists of experienced executives with backgrounds in commodities trading, banking, market research and analysis, and commercial law. Its current operations are in the soft or agricultural markets. It plans to be active in other commodities classes too.
About British Red Cross
For over 150 years, the British Red Cross has helped people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies. We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them recover and move on with their lives. www.redcross.org.uk
British Red Cross press contact: Maddie Waktare, PR Officer, British Red Cross, E: MadaleineWaktare@redcross.org.uk