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    HomeEcosystem NewsVenture Capital & Funding SourcesOrange, the EU, and GIZ Launch $8M Funding Initiative to Back Agritech Startups...

    Orange, the EU, and GIZ Launch $8M Funding Initiative to Back Agritech Startups in Côte d’Ivoire

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    In Côte d’Ivoire, a newly launched fund of €7.6 million (USD$8 million) is set to drive the digitalization of the agricultural ecosystem through the establishment of new enterprises specializing in agritech, particularly sustainable cocoa. Dubbed DigiGreen & Agri, this new project in Côte d’Ivoire aims to bolster the development of agritech. Spearheaded by the local subsidiary of telecommunications giant Orange, along with the European Union (EU) and the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), the initiative represents a collaborative effort under the Team Europe Initiatives, injecting €7.6 million into Ivorian start-ups focused on digital innovation.

    The objective, as explained by Francesca Di Mauro, the EU Delegation Ambassador in Abidjan, is to “contribute to the creation of decent jobs and the increase of sustainable investments in the agricultural ecosystem.” Cocoa stands as the primary value chain targeted by DigiGreen & Agri, given Côte d’Ivoire’s status as the leading exporter of this crucial commodity. The fund from Orange, the EU, and GIZ in Côte d’Ivoire is expected to foster the emergence of a new generation of agritech entrepreneurs through the establishment of businesses centered on sustainable cocoa production.

    Agritech to Counter Massive Deforestation

    These enterprises will predominantly be led by youth and vulnerable individuals (women, persons with disabilities, rural communities), benefiting from funds for the development of digital solutions aimed at marketing their products. Additionally, emphasis will be placed on promoting eco-friendly practices, particularly crucial as cocoa cultivation accelerates massive deforestation in this West African nation.

    In its report “Lies Behind the Wrapper,” the non-governmental organization Mighty Earth reveals that nearly 14,000 hectares of forest vanished in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana in 2018 alone, due to cocoa cultivation, equivalent to 15,000 football fields. This phenomenon is attributed to the rising demand from agri-food firms, particularly chocolate manufacturers. Agritech start-ups thus have a significant role to play in reversing this trend, especially with the impending European ban on importing products linked to deforestation starting in 2025.

    Charles Rapulu Udoh is a Lagos-based lawyer, who has several years of experience working in Africa’s burgeoning tech startup industry. He has closed multi-million dollar deals bordering on venture capital, private equity, intellectual property (trademark, patent or design, etc.), mergers and acquisitions, in countries such as in the Delaware, New York, UK, Singapore, British Virgin Islands, South Africa, Nigeria etc. He’s also a corporate governance and cross-border data privacy and tax expert. As an award-winning writer and researcher, he is passionate about telling the African startup story, and is one of the continent’s pioneers in this regard.

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