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Culinary symphony: African Food Changemakers, Creative African Nexus captivate IATF

Culinary symphony: African Food Changemakers, Creative African Nexus captivate IATF
November 30
20:41 2023

Amidst the bustling marketplace of the Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF) in Cairo, Egypt the largest trade fair in Africa with 75 participating countries, 1600 business exhibitors, entrepreneurs, investors, financiers, and 35,000 buyers and visitors, African Food Changemakers (AFC), and Creative African Nexus (CANEX), a program of the African Export-Import Bank orchestrated gastronomy and culinary event, captivating attendees with their culinary prowess.

The event, held from November 9th to 15th, 2023, Under the vibrant theme, “One People, United in Culture, creating for the World,” brought together renowned chefs, experts, and entrepreneurs, creating a vibrant space for knowledge sharing, innovation, and celebration.

One of the key highlights of the event was the panel discussion titled “Sustaining the African Food Value Chain: From Production to Consumption. Moderated by Ndidi Nwuneli, Founder of AFC, the panel brought together a diverse group of experts, including Chef Coco Reinarhz, African Cuisine Expert, Laila Ayman Mahmoud, LAWFF fellow & CEO Mesori Tech, Chef Mike Elysee, Executive Head Chef, NsuomNam, Lesego Serolong Holzapfel, CEO and Founder, Bokamoso Impact investing and Moedi Wines. The panelists engaged in a lively discussion, emphasizing the importance of collaboration, continuity, and respecting cultural traditions in ensuring the sustainability of the African food chain.

The spotlight then shifted to the iconic dish, Jollof rice, as three esteemed chefs from different regions of Africa—Chef Moyosore Odunfa, Founder and Head Chef of The Atije Experience (Nigeria), Chef George Dediha, African Cuisine Expert (Ghana), and Chef Tamsir Ndir, Executive Chef at Lepic Villa Hotel (Senegal)—engaged in a friendly competition, showcasing their unique interpretations of this beloved dish.

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While the Chefs engaged in the fierce jellof battle armed with their favourite spices, the audience were thrilled to an exclusive viewing of AFC’s documentary on Jollof Rice, titled, ‘Jollof Wars’ showcasing the history, background, influence, and activities of players across the value chain from farm to fork. The documentary displayed an in-depth look at the cultivation, processing, packaging, distribution, and consumption of this popular West African dish aimed at changing global narratives and promoting awareness of the food.

Chef Moyosore Odunfa, Chef Tamsir Ndir, and Chef George Dediha

Chef Moyosore Odunfa, Chef Tamsir Ndir, and Chef George Dediha

After an intense three-hour battle of culinary expertise and cultural pride, the Jollof rice was presented to the delegates at IATF2023. The attendees savoured each dish and cast their votes through a number voting system, resulting in Ghana emerging as the winner, closely trailed by Nigeria and Senegal.

“What’s truly remarkable about the Jollof Wars is how it unites us in our shared love for exceptional food, and we want more African countries making their versions of Jollof Rice and joining the competition,” remarked Ndidi Nwuneli (Founder African Food Changemaker). “This event showcased not just the flavours but also the stories and traditions woven into every grain of Jollof rice.”

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The partnership between AFC and CANEX at the IATF2023 underscored the critical role of trade in promoting African cuisine and supporting African food entrepreneurs. This aligns with AFC’s Scaling Export Program (SEP), which focuses on expanding and diversifying the capacity of African Small and Medium Entreprise (SME) agripreneurs to participate in export.

Boris Kodjoe and Prof. Benedict O. Oramah

Boris Kodjoe and Prof. Benedict O. Oramah

The SEP aims to engage an annual cohort of agri-food SMEs to build their capacity to export healthy, nutritious agri-food products to intra-African and international markets through training, market exposure, trade linkages, and ongoing business support. The program provides tremendous opportunities to increase the competitiveness of African food products in domestic and international markets, enable diversification through value addition, and improve the participation of agriSMEs in regional and continental trade through the AfCFTA.

The event concluded with a Diaspora Showcase, “Celebrating African Cuisine Beyond Borders,” where renowned personalities from the African diaspora, including Professor Benedict Oramah, Boris Kodjoe, Christian Abegan, Davisha Burrowes, Chef Coco Reinarhz, Chef Stone, and Natasha De Bourg, shared their experiences and perspectives on African cuisine.

“We are committed to supporting the growth of the creative and cultural industries in Africa,” said Professor Benedict Oramah, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Afreximbank, the organiser of CANEX.

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The event served as a powerful reminder of the transformative potential of food to unite people, promote cultural exchange, and drive economic growth in Africa. AFC and CANEX are committed to continuing their collaboration to support African food entrepreneurs and change the global narrative about African cuisine.


For more information about AFC, visit www.afchub.org. General enquiries: [email protected]

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