For many African nations achieving the Sustainable Development Goals especially number 2 ,Zero Hunger, is still a major challenge. Thus a multi- stakeholder approach is needed to address this and other development challenges in Africa. For the 2023 African Diaspora Agrofood Forum, we will start the opening session with a panel focusing on policymaking and diaspora Engagement. The aim is to highlight the importance of having the right policies and the role of policymakers in facilitating the input of African dasporas in the development of Africa.
This will be an informative, inspirational and interactive opening session of the 2023 African Diaspora Agrofood forum. Among the panelists of this opening session are ;
As part of this opening session , Mr Ralph Genetzke, Director at International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) Brussels, will also present the 2023 Compendium Of African Diaspora Agrofood Entrepreneurs, published by the Food Bridge in partnership with EUDIF, a program of ICMPD.
Registration is still open via - https://www.eventbrite.com/e/7th-african-diaspora-agrofood-forum-tickets-662976680097
Written By Jashan Sippy
In 2022 the Food Bridge's African Diaspora Agrofood Entrepreneur of the year, was won by a Cameroonian entrepreneur bringing positive change to the international agrifood sector
Entrepreneurship is intwined in the migration narratives of African Diasporas. If one needs proof, then Mr. Cyril Sanjoh’s journey is enlightening and inspirational.
Born in Cameroon into a family of entrepreneurs, Cyril’s father was a successful trader and serial entrepreneur. Cyril keenly points out that he is from the business oriented Bamileke ethnic group. So, his interest in entrepreneurship should come as no surprise. Although entrepreneurship has always been part of his life, being an African Diaspora entrepreneur in Europe came with more challenges peculiar to Cyril’s circumstances and environment.
In 1992, Cyril moved to Germany to study agronomy. He had the intention to return home to Cameroon after his studies. So he started working part time and embarked on different entrepreneurial projects in Germany. First he began exporting consumable goods from Europe to Kumba in Southwest Cameroon. Soon this business was expanded to include the sales of second-hand tyres, electronics, a laundry service, cement store and a multi-purpose business centre, which also provided communication services to the community. Unfortunately, like most diaspora entrepreneurs relying on others to run their businesses back home, some of these lines of business became unsustainable due to mismanagement.
Undeterred, Mr. Sanjoh relocated from Germany to Belgium, and began looking for opportunities of employment and entrepreneurship. He took what he intended to be a temporary job, with an international courier company. However, what was supposed to be temporary, became a 20-year long career working nights. Cyril also worked as a delivery driver during the day to fund his entrepreneurial aspirations. He was very intentional in his career goals because he wanted to have enough resources to provide for his family and to start off new business ventures in Cameroon.
While working for the courier company, Cyril was able to open the first African food shop in Denderleeuw, East Flanders, called Dender Afrika. Due to personal and career challenges, he sold the shop but took this setback as an opportunity to re-strategize.
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