I am very excited to join Wasafiri as the Senior Manager, Food Systems and Inclusive Growth, based out of Wasafiri’s Nairobi office. Why is this move so exciting? The thematic focus, working with an experienced and diverse team and the opportunity to apply Wasafiri’s Systemcraft approach to navigating and solving systemic, emergent and complex problems in diverse contexts. In this post I’ll talk more about my journey into consulting and why I am ready to actively champion Wasafiri’s thematic, sectoral and geographic priorities within the food systems and inclusive growth portfolio.
I’m an international development consultant with 10 years of active experience in Africa. I was fortunate to be introduced to entrepreneurship at an early age whilst I was in primary school, supporting our family business KIKA Enterprises during school holidays supplying foodstuff to school canteens. Here, I was introduced to ‘what constitutes a good trade’ which in most cases meant both parties walking away ‘better off’ from the exchange be it in monetary terms or reduced losses. Fast forward four years, KIKA expanded into wholesale of consumer goods. I saw first-hand the transformative impact trade can have on livelihoods from increase in disposable household income and its ripple effect on the local economy. I also noted how complex things got with the increase in frequency and volume of trade coupled with the entry of new traders, rules and regions and the pressing need to diversify or expand to survive.
My curiosity was sparked, and I wanted to learn more about the trade system and especially how different actors, situations and environments influence its evolution. To this end, in 2005, I attended the World Trade Institute summer academy and was trained on World Trade Organization Laws and Economics with a focus on Innovation and Intellectual Property Protection, Trade, Agriculture and Food Security, International Investment Law and Economic Development. I consider this my foundation into international development. I went on to pursue my academic studies focusing on ‘Doing Business in Africa’. Fast forward another seven years, and my experience has grown to include implementation and management of projects funded by private sector organizations and international agencies (such as GIZ, World Bank, HORIZONT3000, USAID, DFID, Danida and UN HABITAT) and facilitation of partnerships with civil society, local government ministries and county authorities in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Somalia. Much of my consulting experience has championed the conscious integration of socially and economically marginalized groups (such as women, youth, refugees and internally displaced persons) in private sector, governance and stabilization interventions across sectors.
At this present day, I recognize the diverging economic trajectories of individual African countries and various regional groups and I’m very aware of the common challenge of how to foster inclusive and sustainable growth to reduce poverty and inequality, and to accommodate young and growing populations. I’m excited about the platform and positioning Wasafiri presents me with. At Wasafiri the Food Systems and Inclusive Growth (FSIG) portfolio is well aligned with the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and at an intimate level with the AU’s Agenda 2063 and its seven African Aspirations. In this space, I will champion Wasafiri’s efforts to facilitate and structure collaboration by convening development stakeholders collaborating on food systems in Africa, facilitating public-private partnerships within agricultural value chains and market systems that offer commercial and developmental returns, reviewing social impact investments and enabling peer learning and innovation on inclusive business models and partnerships and devising strategy taking account with complex environmental, social and economic goals.
I am motivated by the level of conversation and prioritization of interventions focused on agricultural transformation, food security, economic inclusion and job creation, particularly for youth, by African leaders and development partners. I welcome opportunities to action this commitment; kindly contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to discuss how we can partner to strengthen food systems and inclusive growth in Africa.