Ongolo Proud African

5 African companies that struck gold by going green

Author: Muloongo Muchelemba
4 November 2021

While the climate change crisis poses a real danger to planet earth, it has also created business opportunities for governments, entrepreneurs and innovators who are creating products and services to reduce carbon emissions. ONGOLO has identified five companies across different sectors that are thriving by supporting the green agenda:

#1: Noor Solar Complex (Solar energy, Morocco)

The world’s largest concentrated solar power project located in Western Morocco is ideally placed as it receives one of the highest levels of sunlight around the world and has helped Morocco reduce its dependence on fossil fuels to less than 60%. The solar complex was built on 3,500 hectacres of land and has the capacity to meet the energy needs of 1m homes around the clock after installing batteries that can store up to 8hrs of electricity. The plant has also reduced carbon emissions by more than 800,000 tonnes. The World Bank partially funded the project as a testament to the multilateral financial support that governments can access to build their renewable energy capacity.

#2: Mellowcabs (Electric vehicles, South Africa)

The Stellenbosch-based electric vehicle manufacturer and operator was founded in 2013 by Neil du Preez. His analysis revealed that 80% of city trips are less than 4km long and that commuters using traditional vehicles spend more time stuck in traffic. He created a three-wheel passenger and cargo vehicle that is not only environmentally friendly but also offers a low-cost option for travellers. The cars hit the road in early 2015 and du Preez is now expanding to Asia, particularly India where 300m trips are made using Tuk Tuks. In addition to transportation, Mellowcabs offers lucrative advertising space which has been used by some of the leading firms in South Africa.

#3: VeggieVictory (Food industry, Nigeria)

Everyone has heard of Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, the American companies that made plant-based meat substitutes trendy and are both valued at over $8 billion each. VeggieVictory is the African alternative. Founded in May 2013 by Hakeem Jimo and Bola Adeyanju as Nigeria’s first vegetarian restaurant, VeggieVictory became popular by veganising popular Nigerian dishes such as amala, gbegiri and ewedu stew. The founders created Vchunks, Nigeria’s first plant-based meat substitute which is sold in their retail shops and has a shelf life of five months. Vchunks has now gone global and is used by African restaurants and caterers in the United States. Other products recently developed include the vegan beef jerky called Kilishi. In February 2021, the company closed a pre-seed round from European and American venture capitalists – the amount was undisclosed.

#4: Baramoda (Waste Management, Egypt)

Three Egyptian entrepreneurs set out to solve the problem of how to recycle and repurpose 38m tonnes of waste produced when sugar cane and sugar beet are processed to make sugar. Mostafa Elnaby, Moussa Khalil and Mohammed Abu Zaid founded Baramoda, Africa’s first agri-tech start-up, in 2017 after developing a process for converting agricultural waste into organic fertiliser that can be used for different crops and soil types. In 2018, Baramoda produced 5,500 tonnes of fertiliser and planned to increase to 10,000 tonnes by 2019. The founders started the company with $500 and raised nearly half a million dollars from angel investors. They received a $5m investment in 2019 which will help them increase their annual capacity of waste processed from 180,000 tonnes to over 1m tonnes.

#5: Afri-Carbon pay (Carbon market, Pan-African)

Afri-Carbon pay was founded in 2020 by Tonthoza Uganja, Cecil Chikezie and Agnes Shivute to find a solution for deforestation in their home countries: Malawi, Kenya, Namibia, and South Sudan. It is a digital platform that gives individuals and small companies the ability to offset their carbon emissions by supporting the regeneration and reforestation of sub-Saharan Africa. Afri-Carbon pay offers three plans: $5/ month helps farmers plant 10 trees; $10/ month allows local organisations plant 20 trees; and, $100/month enables local communities to restore 1 hectacre of woodland.



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