Annie Kamala Kyakimwa is an entrepreneur, teaching assistant and university researcher who supports the development of women and youth. She works as a teaching and research assistant in forestry at the Official University of Semuliki, DRC, and is an active member in the international network of young professionals for agricultural development YPARD in DRC (Young Professionals for Agricultural Development) where she deals with issues related to agricultural innovation. Annie is also an Ambassador for Girls’ Education in Africa at the African Union’s International Centre for Girls’ and Women’s Education in Africa (AU/CIEFFA). She is the president of the non-governmental organization Pour elles, an initiative that promotes girls’ education and women’s empowerment. She worked as a consultant on the subject of gender in support of Congolese women for peace from 2018 to 2021.

Annie holds a Bachelor’s degree in Agronomic Sciences, Department of Renewable Natural Resources from the University of Kinshasa, DRC, and a Master’s degree in Agro-climatology from the Institut Supérieur des Techniques Appliquées/Kinshasa, DRC.

Annie Kamala

CEO, Agro Bibi

Business Location: République Démocratique du Congo

Company status: Limited
liability company Year established: 2019
Number of employees: 8 full-time employees; 10 daily employees
CEO: Annie Kamala

Mission: To strengthen the economic status of urban and rural women and thus increase their autonomy in the DRC.

Vision: Reduce poverty, stereotypes and gender inequality.

Business Model

AGRO BIBI is an agri-food and technology company that produces and processes fruits, cereals, cocoa and vanilla. “Bibi” means “woman” in Swahili and focuses on the company’s main beneficiaries. Indeed, AGRO BIBI builds the capacities of women and youth. It also helps smallholder farmers address the agricultural challenges they face in the DRC.

Close relations with smallholders

AGRO BIBI works closely with women cocoa and chia farmers to enable the sale of their products. The company trains them and supports them in the development of their activities in order to support their growth.

Products & Markets

AGRO BIBI processes a variety of agricultural products, including cocoa powder, cocoa butter, chia seeds and soybean yoghurt. These products are primarily marketed for their health benefits:
• Chia seeds are marketed for their high omega-3 content, their ability to facilitate weight loss, stabilize blood pressure, and reduce blood sugar levels.
• Raw, organic cocoa powder is marketed to strengthen the body, reduce heart problems, blood pressure, and diabetes, and act as an antidepressant.
• Soy yoghurt with vanilla extract is 100% organic, high in protein and helps fight malnutrition as it is suitable for all ages and ensures a good balance for all members of the family.

AGRO BIBI also processes and produces food powders (gari makosso, maize), spinach, peas, fruit juices, cheese and eggs.

AGRO BIBI products are sold in local and regional markets to supermarkets and restaurants (chia seeds are sold in Uganda, Gabon and Congo).

AGRO BIBI also makes its agri-food production and agribusiness support services available to rural women. The company helps women develop their own agribusinesses through training in food processing and social and economic entrepreneurship. The company offers its services in rural areas where women face many challenges, including social security issues and violence against women. At the same time, AGRO BIBI is helping to distribute financial support from the local government to women.

AGRO BIBI has developed Agrobibitech, a WhatsApp-based platform through which users can order agri-food products, connect with experts with experience in agriculture and be informed about climate-related issues.

AGRO BIBI products are certified organic (by the Congolese Control Office (OCC); certification by the Agency for the Valorization of Agricultural Products (AVPA) is in progress).

Innovations: Milestones and Expansion Plans

AGRO BIBI was created with the aim of helping to reduce food insecurity in the DRC. In 2020, the company integrated technology support into its operations. Agrobibitech serves as a channel to disseminate real-time agricultural information to farmers in Kinshasa. The platform connects with farmers online and provides early warnings on climate change via SMS and WhatsApp. In addition, Agrobibitech informs users, in the local Lingala language, about good agricultural practices, solutions to the impacts of climate change and where to buy agricultural inputs. All of these features are also available on a downloadable app on Android and IOS devices.

AGRO BIBI has also opened an agro-industrial training center in Kinshasa for women’s empowerment – an important step towards achieving the company’s goals by expanding its network across the DRC.

AGRO BIBI is looking to support more young entrepreneurs and plans to expand its services to women who run smallholder farms beyond Kinshasa and throughout the DRC.

Success Factors and Lessons Learned

AGRO BIBI supports women in rural areas, as well as vulnerable women in urban areas, by creating relationships with them through hands-on trainings on agricultural product processing. The company helps overcome the barriers that often prevent women from accessing and benefiting from agricultural programs. Through this training, women can generate a new and/or additional source of income that allows their daughters to return to school.

Numerous awards recognize the positive impact of AGRO BIBI. The company was among the winners of the “Challenge of 1000” and African entrepreneurs who were invited to the Africa-France Summit in June 2020 in Bordeaux, France. The company was also awarded Start-up of the Year 2021 for its AGROBIBI ACADEMY center by the African Development Bank in partnership with the African Union in Dakar.

The Agrobibitech platform has also been a rapid success, with more than 1,000 subscribers already. In 2020, the platform won the Ingenious City Tech Award in partnership with the Swedish Embassy in the DRC. In 2022, Agrobibitech participated in competitions for technological projects developed by and for Congolese youth. The company was a finalist in the Updev Challenge and the Intello Moseka competition organised by Wallonia-Brussels.

Additional Resources

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