About

Origin of our name

Our name, Aspuna, derives from the English word ‘Aspire’ and the Wolof word ‘Aduna’, which means ‘World’. The very combination of these words reflects our ambition to become the leading social impact commodity trading house and expand our activities on a global scale.

Ethics and Values

  • We do not believe in CSR, as this is often treated as a separate entity.

  • We have embedded our commitment to the generation of socio-economic returns alongside our profits deeply into our company DNA

  • We treat people and their communities with dignity and respect.

  • Our factory operations are managed with the greatest degree of transparency and traceability

  • Our team operates with the highest standards of integrity and responsibility.

  • Our values and business practices put us in a strong position to deliver first-class client services and honor our business obligations.

Who we are

Commodity Trader with a Difference – Aspuna Group is a fast-growing London-headquartered social impact commodities business. We are a University of Cambridge Executive MBA spin-out with the core team consisting of experienced executives with backgrounds in Commodities Trading, Banking, Market Research & Analysis and Commercial Law. Aspuna’s first operations are in the soft or agricultural markets, with a view to be active in other commodities classes in the future.

Focusing initially on Africa, Aspuna’s operations are vertically integrated with a strong commitment to local processing as a powerful vehicle for socio-economic development. Aspuna Group’s products are thus distinguishable through the company’s sourcing and production methods.

We have made strong and fair partnerships with our local suppliers and producers the core of our strategy; placing great emphasis on socially responsible processing and trading. It is therefore an imperative for our business to add social and economic value to the communities we operate in.

In an increasingly socially and environmentally conscious consumer world, Aspuna’s customers can be assured that the purchase of its locally processed commodities has a direct social impact on the livelihoods of small-holder farmers and their wider communities. In addition our 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.

Our People

Aspuna Group Ltd

Maria-Yassin Jah, Co-Founder, CEO, Aspuna Group Ltd.

Prior to co-founding the Aspuna Group, Maria-Yassin was a Senior Market Strategist with E.ON Global Commodities, at the time Europe’s largest physical commodity trader. Before joining EGC as an in-house market expert Maria-Yassin had been in market analytics for a number of years – working as an external analyst at Platts, a S&P Global business. Maria-Yassin holds an Executive MBA from the University of Cambridge, an MSc from the London School of Economics and a BA from the School of Oriental and African Studies. She is a citizen of Gambia and Germany.

Dr Luis Prazeres, Co-Founder, COO, Aspuna Group Ltd.

An engineer, Dr Prazeres has a background in commodities and manufacturing. Before setting up Aspuna, Dr Prazeres worked as a Director for one of the big-four consultancy firms, as well as the head of commodities for a number of boutique consultancies  in London. Prior to that Luis worked for JP Morgan’s commodities trading division, also in London and in manufacturing in Portugal. Dr Prazeres holds an Executive MBA from the University of Cambridge (UK) and a PhD and Master in Engineering from the University of Strathclyde (UK).

Patrick Fernandes, CFO, Aspuna Group Ltd.

Patrick is currently Chief Financial Officer at Aspuna Group, where he works closely with the financial models of the company. He has assumed a variety of roles including Derivatives Analyst at Citi Group and Financial Markets Stategy at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Patrick has completed a Computer Science degree, a Financial Trading and Investments Masters Degree and is currently studying towards a MBA at University of Cambridge.

Aspuna Gambia Ltd

Mr. Amadou Jah, Co-founder, Country Director, CEO, Aspuna Gambia Ltd.

Amadou Jah is a co-founder and CEO and Country Director of Aspuna Gambia Ltd. Mr Jah is in charge of government relations as well as the management of our ecosystem and its stakeholders from the public and private sectors. He manages our partnerships with the country’s farmer associations and oversees the expansion of our operations. Before joining Aspuna Group Ltd, Mr Jah studied Business Administration at the University of Frankfurt (Germany) after which he worked for Swiss Air and Sony Music before returning to Gambia to set up his translation and education businesses. In 2015, he joined the Aspuna Gambia subsidiary in 2015 as Country Director and minority shareholder.

Tijan Ceesay, COO, Aspuna Gambia Ltd.

Tijan Ceesay joined us after a time abroad in several European countries. Mr Ceesay is in charge of factory operations and Aspuna’s supply chain across our expanding portfolio of cassava, tomato and mango. He oversees Aspuna’s existing and growing network of Gambian small holder farmers; establishing strong and fair partnerships with those communities. Prior to joining Aspuna Mr Ceesay was managing the import and export of consumer products into The Gambia where he gained critical skills in logistics.

Aspuna Tanzania

Victor Kabegu, CEO, Aspuna Tanzania.

Victor is a bio-technologist by background and qualified as a marketer with STEP in Germany. Before joining Aspuna Victor was the CEO and Co-founder of JV Biotech Enterprises Company Limited. He helped the company to build its operation and production site as well as establishing effective sales channels for its products locally and international.  Victor has 5+ years of experience in the creation and management of a Cassava Value Chain. Victor is also the General Secretary of the Tanzania Cassava Producers and Processors (TACAPPA) association.

Jacob Tito, COO, Aspuna Tanzania.

Jacob Tito has a degree in Biotechnology from University of Dar es Salaam. Prior to joining Aspuna, Jacob was the Co-founder and Managing Director of JV Biotech Enterprises Company Limited, an agro-processing company focussed on cassava-based products, such as starch, bio-fertiliser and animal feed. Jacob was instrumental in JV Biotech Enterprise Company winning several internationally recognised awards sponsored by ILO, NEEC and the Innovation Support Fund sponsored by HDIF and COSTECH. 

Supported By

Partners

For our operations in The Gambia we have partnered with Cambridge-based tech company AgriInsight. Embedding AgriInsight's innovative agribusiness e-platform into our operations allows Aspuna to bring a new level of efficiency to the supply chain management of Gambian farming produce.

Members of