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African agribusiness expert announced as new CEO of US nonprofit Partners in Food Solutions

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African agribusiness expert announced as new CEO of US nonprofit Partners in Food Solutions

Zimbabwean national Mandla Nkomo becomes the first African to lead the 15-year-old organization

Partners in Food Solutions, a nonprofit organization offering African food companies technical assistance from major multinationals and access to financing, will soon see Mandla Nkomo, an expert in agribusiness development from Zimbabwe, take the helm as its first African CEO. Nkomo's appointment comes as current CEO Jeff Dykstra prepares to step down in July. Established in 2008, Partners in Food Solutions facilitates connections between African food processing firms and volunteers from renowned agri-food corporations like General Mills, Cargill, and Smucker, who share their expertise to address business challenges.

Based in South Africa, Nkomo brings over 20 years of experience across the public and private sectors in various African countries as well as internationally. His previous role as chief growth officer for the CGIAR Excellence in Agronomy Initiative at CGIAR, the world's largest publicly funded agricultural research organization, demonstrates his expertise in agricultural development. Recognized as a key element in Africa's agri-food system, local food companies have the potential to create new markets for the crops of millions of smallholder farmers, thereby reducing the continent's dependence on food imports, which amount to $60 billion annually. Partners in Food Solutions has significantly contributed to the growth of African food processing companies, as evidenced by a 20 percent average increase in revenue and an 11 percent expansion in workforces in 2023, with a notable 50 percent rise reported in farmer supply chains.

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