As Uganda prepares the possibility of opening her economy to the cannabis market, the East African nation is not alone. Many African countries are recognizing the potential wealth of this cash crop and even though they may not advertise it, they are discussing and preparing to enter this new sector.
A group of African business partners led by Ethiopian-Canadian, Mengesha Woldegeberal have achieved what once seemed impossible. They have succeeded in getting governments and investors to come to terms on the issuing of licenses for the cultivation and export of cannabis.
The companies have agreed to give generous amounts of shares to the local communities, plan on building and assembling homes for farmers, and will be creating a minimum of 200 jobs, per company, with wages that are among the highest paid for farmers in Africa.
The partners and Mengesha did not want to make many comments at this time about the licensing out of respect for the privacy of their clients. However, our sources have revealed that Mr. Mengesha and his partners are consulting numerous companies, not only in the cannabis sector but for Oil and Gas projects, Gold, Potash and Lithium Mine projects.
The group has been a great advertising powerhouse bringing cannabis investors into the market. As a sector that creates employment and wealth faster than any other investment in Africa, they have gained the trust of Canadian, Australian, American and Israeli companies which have since invested billions in just a few countries one of them being Uganda that has recently signed an off taker agreement for over 150 million USD a year.
According to Grand View Research Incorporated, “the global legal cannabis market is expected to reach 146.4 billion USD by 2025.”
In the short time, we had Mengesha on WhatsApp, with the help of his Ugandan partner and he gave us an insightful view of how he believes Africa can dominate the cannabis industry.
Qn: Perfect, that’s plenty. How did you get into this sector, the cannabis business I mean?
Mengesha: A business partner and friend from Canada asked me if i could help him to establish a cannabis or hemp farm in Ethiopia 2 and a half years ago and that’s how it started. And as I looked at the investment more carefully, I realized that this was an investment opportunity for Africa to really compete with the world. We have an abundance of land, sun, and rich organic soil with a huge farming labor force at low price without taking advantage of locals.
Qn: How long do you think this cannabis trend will last? How long can Africa make wealth from this, because in the end it’s not really food?
Mengesha: Well, that’s not true. Hemp is source of food with protein. Hemp is also used for fabric and in many ways more economic than cotton – it is easier to grow with a shorter growth cycle, and requires less water which, in itself, is beneficial in Africa.
You can also produce paper, rope, boxes, and now you can even use it to make airplanes, cars and houses. The possibilities are truly amazing, we just have to be creative.
My partners and I are already in motion to bring these types of innovative companies to Africa. That is the next phase of our Cannabis and hemp investment plan in Africa. I think the fact that it is a plant with such a diverse range of uses makes it a sustainable sound investment rather than a fleeting trend.
Qn: What are the biggest challenges in Africa in terms of starting this investment?
Mengesha: Well there are a lot. It is a new sector for every country in the world except Israel. Many people and organizations in Africa don’t know that the cannabis ingredient CBD is an FDA and WHO approved medicine for Epilepsy in young children.
In the end, the global demand for cannabis is very high and Africa needs to get involved right away before the opportunity passes by. The Phases will be Cultivation Licensing, Extracted Oil Exporting and finally the Manufacturing of Cannabis and Hemp Products.
This is a direct cash investment in each African country, and there is massive financing for it.
Qn: How is Ethiopia moving along for cannabis investment?
In our research, we found an article that said there is 10 billion USD potential for cannabis in Ethiopia and 15 billion USD in Nigeria. From what we read, the Minster of Health and Investment have blocked one of the biggest and quickest payback investments in Ethiopia or even Africa!!
Mengesha: Sorry, no comment on that question!
Qn: Ok! So what’s next for you and your partners?
Mengesha: We are working on putting together an Agro Park for cannabis and hemp. It would be on 50,000 acres of land near water and electricity for both indoor and/or outdoor cultivation. We would manage the license and security with the government for the whole 50,000 acres. This would would make it much easier for companies to come sign a deal with us and start cultivation on the desired size of land within the 50k that is licensed. The deal has many requests of each company including fair pay, community shares, community infrastructure building and the most important to us which are medical and educational programs.
Reporter: That sounds great!
Mengesha: Yes, and we also give the security contract to the government police that the companies pay in US currency. The police that will do our security will inspect every vehicle and person that moves in or out of the double fenced cultivation facility. It is win-win situation where we not only make much needed foreign currency, but where the government feels comfortable knowing that they monitor what goes in and out of the facilities in their country.
Reporter: Well, thank you so much for your time and insight into this growing sector.
Mengesha: My Pleasure!!