Annie Kamala is an entrepreneur, researcher and university assistant who coordinates multiple efforts that uplift women and youth. She works as a researcher in agronomic sciences at the Official University of Semuliki, DRC, and is an active member within YPARD (an international movement by Young Professionals for Young Professionals for Agricultural Development) DRC. Annie is also the Ambassador for the education of young girls in Africa at the African Union International Centre for the Education of Girls and Women in Africa (AU/CIEFFA). She is president of the non-governmental organization Pour elles initiative which promotes girls’ education and the empowerment of women. She worked as a gender consultant supporting 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: Democratic Republic of Congo

Type: Limited Liability Company
Year of Founding: 2019
Number of Employees: 8 full-time, 10 part-time
CEO: Annie Kamala

Mission: To strengthen the economic status of rural women, reduce women’s poverty and thereby increase women’s autonomy in DRC

Vision: To reduce poverty, gender stereotypes and inequalities

Business Model

AGRO BIBI is an agri-food and tech company producing and processing fruit, cereals, cocoa and vanilla. ‘Bibi’ means ‘woman’ in Swahili, representing AGRO BIBI’s main focus. The company builds the capacity of women and youth, and supports smallholder farmers address agricultural challenges in the DRC.

Strong Relationship with Smallholders

AGRO BIBI works closely with cocoa and chia producers 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 and Markets

AGRO BIBI processes a variety of products, including cocoa powder, cocoa butter, chia seeds, and soy yoghurt. Their products are primarily marketed for their health benefits:
• The chia seeds are marketed for the richness in omega-3s, their ability to facilitate weight loss, stabilize blood pressure and reduce blood sugar.
• The cocoa powder is raw and organic, marketed to strengthen the body, treat heart problems, address blood pressure and diabetes and act as an antidepressant.
• The soy yoghurt, infused with vanilla extract, is 100% organic, rich in protein and a viable response to malnutrition as it is suitable for all ages and ensures a good balance of family health.

Other products processed by AGRO BIBI include food powders (gari makosso, maize), spinach, peas, fruit juice, cheese, and eggs.

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

AGRO BIBI operates as an agri-food production and agri-business support services for rural women. It helps women develop their agribusiness companies through trainings in food processing and social and economic entrepreneurship. The company offers these services in rural areas where women face several difficulties, including social security issues and the presence of violence against women. AGRO BIBI also helps streamline financial support from the local government to women.

AGRO BIBI has developed Agrobibitech, a platform linked to WhatsApp through which users can order agrifood products, connect with consultants with experience in agriculture and be informed about climate linked 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

While AGRO BIBI started as an agrifood start-up with the desire to help reduce food insecurity in the DRC, in 2020, a technological aspect was built into their operations. Agrobibitech serves as a channel for disseminating real-time agricultural information to farmers in Kinshasa. It consults farmers online and provides climate change early warnings through SMS and WhatsApp. Agrobibitech informs users, in the local language Lingala, on good agricultural practices, solutions to climate change impacts and where to access agricultural inputs. For all of these features, Agrobibitech also has an app, available on Android and IOS devices.

AGRO BIBI also opened an agro-business training centre in Kinshasa for the empowerment of women – an important step towards reaching the company’s goals in expanding its network throughout the DRC.

AGRO BIBI works on supporting more young entrepreneurs and plans to expand their services to smallholder woman farmers beyond Kinshasa and throughout the DRC.

Success Factors and Lessons Learned:

AGRO BIBI supports women in rural areas and some who are vulnerable in urban areas by creating relationships with them through practical trainings on the processing of agricultural products. The company overcomes the barriers that often prevent women from accessing and benefiting from agricultural programs. Thanks to their increased incomes, this ensures the return of girls to school.

The positive impact of AGRO BIBI has been recognized with numerous accolades, including being among the winners of the “Challenge of 1000” which invited entrepreneurs from the African continent 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 met rapid success, which already has over 1,000 subscribers. In 2020, the platform won the Ingenious City tech prize in partnership with the Swedish Embassy in the DRC. In 2022, Agrobibitech participated in competitions for technological projects developed by and for young Congolese. The company was a finalist in the Updev Challenge and the Intello Moseka competition organized by Wallonia-Brussels.

Additional Resources

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