Sanjay Sethi receives 2013 Africa Food Prize Award
Sanjay Sethi, the Chief Executive Officer for Food and Beverages of the Export Trading Group has been awarded the Africa food Prize 2013 for this noteworthy contribution in helping produce more food for Africa’s poor people.
The Africa Food Prize is a special award designed to identify and recognise achievements by the different key players in the region’s agribusiness and food security contributions.
Sethi has implemented various end to end supply chain integration projects for food and agriculture Africa as well as in India.
He brought up small holder farming communities in many developing economies in Africa and supported them with modern technologies including drip irrigation.
He has provided integrated solutions to farmers in Rwanda, Kenya, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Malawi, Angola, Uganda, Sudan, Mozambique, Gabon, Ghana and Burkina Faso.
His actions have immensely improved the agricultural infrastructure, irrigation technologies, adoption of new technology and Good Agricultural Practices followed by farmers and he has been lauded as thoughtful and creative Agribusiness Professional who has helped many Governments to fine tune their blueprints for agriculture.
Looking at the world’s increasing population, the agriculture sector has the daunting task of producing almost 50 percent more by 2030 and doubling the production by 2050. Africa has an important role to play here.
Africa is ideally placed to navigate the shifting poles of power by becoming a food supplier to the world. It is the only place which has the potential to assure global food security.
Agricultural potential of these Sub Saharan countries remains untapped, with 60 percent of world’s arable fellow land being in Africa.
By opening up virgin farmland and improving African yields through better techniques, the continent could not only meet its own needs but also be a net exporter of agricultural produce.
Experts say African agribusiness could be worth $1 trillion by 2030. The opportunities are endless: from exporting fresh produce to overseas markets, to canning fruit to provide year-round supplies and exporting processed food to nearby regions.
But the present situation is quite opposite, with food imports by African countries crossing a whopping $30 billion. A large number of poor in Africa continue to die because of starvation and malnutrition.
Sethi’s role in providing leadership to thousands of agribusiness professionals in and outside Africa and showing them the most viable path has multiplied his efforts in ensuring there is more food for the poor.
He undertook many infrastructure projects like setting up India’s first Mega Food Park, India’s first Free Trade Warehousing Zone and India’s first private Model Terminal Market.
In his more than two decade long experience, Sanjay worked for Jain Irrigation, National Dairy Development Board, Unilever, Sputnik Overseas and Technopak Advisors.
He was given his award earlier this week at the East Africa Agribusiness Conference and Awards ceremony held at Kampala Serena Hotel during the Gala Dinner organised with much fanfare by Focus on East Africa.
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.