BY THE STANDARD: Twiga Foods appoints Peter Njonjo as its Chief Executive Officer. Njonjo was the most senior Kenyan at Coca Cola Company where he spanned 21 years; leading the multinational’s West and Central Africa business unit as President.
He takes over from Grant Brooke, a researcher who has spent over a decade studying East Africa’s informal markets. Brooke will retain his executive role in the organization, working with Njonjo to expand the start-up’s footprint into the rest of sub-Saharan Africa.
Twiga Foods is a mobile-based, cashless, business-to-business (B2B) supply platform that links farmers with food vendors. The firm was launched in 2014 to address inefficiencies in Africa’s large, but highly-fragmented informal fruit and vegetable markets.
Twiga sources fruits and vegetables from some 17,000 farmers across 20 counties in Kenya and delivers directly to 2,500 vendors a day in Nairobi and its environs.
Twiga also lists products from many of Kenya’s leading Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) brands, as it moves towards offering a one-stop-shop for urban kiosks, grocers, and mama mbogas .
“If my leadership was the period in which Twiga was proving a point that there’s a better way to build food safe and secure markets, Peter’s leadership will be about institutionalizing this way of doing business and scaling it. Peter’s experience in building efficient supply chains and last-mile distribution in over 33 African countries makes him uniquely suited to lead us,” said the outgoing Twiga Foods CEO Grant Brooke.
Peter Njonjo’s appointment, noted Mr Brooke, presents a first; with a senior executive in a Fortune 500 Company joining an African start-up, a “clear testament of the increasing capacity of venture capital in funding and solving significant problems and harnessing opportunities on the continent.”
“This appointment is a great honour for me and Kenyan corporate leadership expertise.
I look forward to scaling up our vision of more efficient food markets in Africa and improved food security for our people. Twiga Foods is living proof of the latent opportunity to drive agricultural transformation and investment for local consumption,” said Njonjo.
Brooke has, in the past five years, led the growth of Twiga Foods into one of Africa’s most successful start-ups, a magnet for investor interest, awards and recognition. Over the years, the business has raised KSh3 billion to fund its expansion from tier-1 funds.
It was voted Most Promising Company of the Year at the 2018 Africa CEO Forum Awards in Abidjan, Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies 2018, and the Global Winner of the 1776 Challenge Cup. Under Mr. Brooke’s leadership Twiga has seen consistent 150% year-in-year-out growth.
Said Mr. Brooke, “Starting new ventures is really my skill-set and passion, while proficiently running institutions is Peter’s skill-set and passion.
Twiga has an aggressive growth plan and this transition leverages on our respective expertise.”
Inefficiencies in the supply chain have been blamed for high food prices in African cities, where close to 90 percent of the supply comes from informal retail outlets.
Kenyans spend 45 percent of their disposable incomes on food, compared to 14 percent for South Africans and 10 percent for citizens of most European countries.