Africa’s youth wave

Africa is experiencing an unprecedented youth wave. Today, Africa has twice as many 15-year-olds as 35-year-olds. This ratio is likely to increase. From 193 million young people aged 15-24 in 2015, the number will grow to 295 million by 2035, and to 362 million by 2050.

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Expertise Areas

Monitoring and evaluation

Undertaking practical and useful results measurement for programmes applying a market systems development approach is complex and requires one to think outside of the traditional linear approach to achieving impact.  

We combine our understanding of market systems, catalytic funding mechanisms and experience in private sector development with deep knowledge and expertise in international M&E standards, including the Donor Committee for Enterprise Development Standard.

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Evaluation and impact assessment

Our evaluations focus on economic opportunities that are most useful for young people and balance accountability with learning.

We select the M&E methods and tools that are most appropriate to the context and meet the often divergent needs of the users of our evaluations. Our team has theoretical and practical knowledge of a range of M&E methods and tools that equip us to maintain a high level of rigour. We balance this rigour with a degree of flexibility that ensures we remain responsive to emerging considerations and changing contexts.

We make sure that young people take part in a meaningful way where they don’t feel threatened. We use methods that make young people comfortable in sharing their stories, experiences and opinions. Evaluations are implemented and recommendations are prepared with a view to how these can be used. This means locating the recommendations in the context of implementation and characteristics of different interventions.

Our recent evaluation clients in the youth economic opportunities space include funders like DFID, ILO and The Rockefeller Foundation, government stakeholders such as the Department of Planning Monitoring and Evaluation in the South African Presidency, and programme implementers like Harambee Youth Accelerator and the Helvetas team managing the Swiss-funded MarketMakers programme.

Youth in agriculture

Africa has the largest youth population in the world, with 65% under the age of 35 – a number that is set to double by 2045. Most of the youth are unemployed, with an estimated 72% in Africa considered to be either unemployed or vulnerably employed. Already countries across Africa are struggling to provide young people with meaningful livelihoods. 

Agriculture presents the largest avenue for creating opportunities for the youth, contributing on average 15% of GDP of several African countries. Governments across Africa have been grappling with how to include and harness the potential of the youth to grow the sector and for the economies of Africa to create meaningful opportunities for young people. 

To address this challenge, we work with governments, donors, foundations and the private sector to design and implement youth-inclusive programmes across the continent. 

To date, our work has included working with governments to develop curricula that prepare young people for the work environment. This entails working with financial services providers to develop financial products that are targeted at the youth as well as working with foundations and non-profits to develop youth-inclusive strategies across several agricultural value chains. 

Ongoing support as a learning partner

Beyond assisting our clients to validate and improve their own impact, there are important lessons to be learnt that can be shared with other funders and practitioners and applied to their own youth-focused interventions. This facilitates improvement by all and a greater and more sustained impact in the youth economic opportunities space.

As a learning partner to our clients we collect and generate, store and curate, and adapt and disseminate knowledge. However, our role is to support a meaningful learning process that develops meaningful outputs. Our outputs are crafted for the end-user, especially in terms of language, format and graphics. This includes the use of technology and data visualisation to support learning processes. We also ensure that stories of change and beneficiary voices are emphasised so that M&E information is contextualised. Finally, we are adept at developing real-time, practical recommendations for programme improvement or strategic intervention that are clear and detailed. Genesis has been appointed as learning partner to The Rockefeller Foundation’s Digital Jobs Africa, which aims to respond to the challenge of youth unemployment by supporting a global impact-sourcing movement in order to increase commitments to inclusive hiring among corporate stakeholders. As Rockefeller’s learning partner we will develop knowledge products to promote inclusive hiring, enable learning to inform strategic management and ongoing improvement, and promote upward and downward accountability.

Design, review and support of M&E systems

Our development of M&E systems enables our clients to go beyond merely collating figures to establish progress against targets. Through our results-based management approach to M&E, we acknowledge that it is not beneficial to collect information if it will not be used. Successful project execution in the youth economic opportunities space requires being able to leverage high quality data on a regular basis and being able to use this data to course correct and improve programme strategy and implementation.

When providing technical assistance, our role varies from being the M&E officer on short- or long-term programmes, to assisting and mentoring internal M&E staff, to conducting workshops and training sessions, and to developing M&E frameworks and tools for implementation. In youth economic opportunities, we have designed, reviewed and supported the M&E systems of a range of clients, including the South African National Treasury’s Jobs Fund, The Rockefeller Foundation, the African Agriculture Fund’s Technical Assistance Facility and DFID.

Financial inclusion

Hundreds of millions of people across sub-Saharan Africa lack access to basic financial products and services, including savings, credit and insurance. Lack of access to financial services is particularly acute among the poor, among women and among those living in rural areas where the reach of traditional financial channels has historically been limited.

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Projects

Making agriculture markets more accessible to youth

Project name:
Consultancy to Establish High Impact Inclusive Youth Interventions

Service:
Market systems development

Sector:
Agriculture and Agribusiness
Africa’s youth wave

Client:
Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)

Date:
2018

Country:
Burkina Faso
Mozambique
Nigeria
Tanzania


Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) commissioned Genesis to conduct a study to generate evidence and strategies for mass-market and high impact youth engagements in agriculture. This was done along the value chain that included rural, urban, educated and non-educated young people.

The study to find a way to make young people more effective in agriculture was conducted through a rapid market analysis of youth interventions in Burkina Faso, Mozambique, Nigeria and Tanzania. 

The objectives of the market analysis were to examine the extent to which youth in agriculture interventions in the four countries have been successful in engaging young people, establishing government policies, strategies and initiatives on youth empowerment and identifying the systemic constraints that impede youth engagement in agriculture. Through the use of its Youth in Agriculture Framework, Genesis proposed high impact and inclusive youth interventions that will inform AGRA's youth in agriculture strategy.

AGRA is a dynamic, African-led partnership working across the continent to help millions of smallholder farmers out of poverty.

Under its new strategy (2016-2020) AGRA seeks to catalyse an agricultural transformation in 11 key countries - Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

AGRA’s mission is to trigger an African-led green revolution based on smallholder farmers in Africa with key goals by 2020 being:

  • Doubling the incomes of at least 30 million farm households through productivity improvements and access to markets and finance;
  • Ensuring all focus countries are on a pathway to attain and sustain an agricultural transformation through sustainable agricultural productivity growth and access to markets and finance.

To achieve this, AGRA works with African governments, international partners, private sector and public institutions. It will mobilise resources and political support required to invest in projects that strive to address food insecurity and increase the incomes of smallholder farmers.

Genesis identified critical gaps in production, post-production and marketing of produce including service provision.

Through its Youth in Agriculture Framework, Genesis recommended engagement methodologies and activities for AGRA and its partners to achieve its objectives of increasing productivity and access to markets for the youth in Africa.

(Photo credit: UN Photo/Harandane Dicko, 13 May 2017, Gao, Mali)

Diagnosing MSME development challenge in Africa

Project name:
MSME finance deep-dive research

Service:
Financial inclusion
Market systems development

Sector:
Financial services strategy
Africa’s youth wave

Area of Expertise:
Market entry and growth strategy
Strategy
Segmentation
Ongoing support as a learning partner

Client:
Private foundation

Date:
2018

Country:
Ethiopia
Ghana
Nigeria
Senegal


Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are a critical source of employment creation in Africa. This is particularly so for young people because Africa’s youth bulge will lead to an unprecedented number of young people entering the labour market in the coming years. 

The MSME development challenge is how to grow productive MSMEs that can employ more people. Solving this is critical to harnessing the demographic dividend of Africa’s growing young population.

This is one of the tasks of a prominent private foundation working on youth employment creation in Africa. Genesis partnered with the foundation to diagnose the MSME landscape in four countries of interest: Ethiopia, Ghana, Senegal and Nigeria. The foundation was new to the area of MSME development and required guidance on how best to diagnose the key growth constraints and programming opportunities for MSME development.

We applied our framework for analysing MSME markets in each country, beginning with a review of MSME definitions and concepts such as firm size, formality and survivalist vs. opportunity-driven entrepreneurs to segment and size the MSME market. We then determined the key constraints and opportunities for MSME growth in each market by analysing five elements of the MSME ecosystem: skills and training, access to finance, infrastructure, market dynamics and the MSME support landscape. Last, we prioritised the sectors with the greatest potential for MSME programming impact by assessing each sector’s growth, youth employment creation potential and MSME presence.

Our work provided the foundation with a firm evidence base on which to build its MSME support strategy in each country. We placed an emphasis on collecting and synthesising available data to assist the foundation with a view of what is known and what still remains to be investigated, regarding MSME development in each market.

Since MSME development was a new area for the foundation, we also positioned ourselves as a learning partner during the project. This included providing the foundation with thought leadership on how to diagnose MSME ecosystems, providing an in-person briefing to foundation staff on MSME development issues and developing a case study learning tool on diagnosing MSME markets.

Partners with Rockefeller on Digital initiative

Project name:
Monitoring and Evaluation of Digital Jobs Africa

Service:
Monitoring and evaluation

Sector:
Africa’s youth wave

Area of Expertise:
Ongoing support as a learning partner

Client:
Rockerfeller Foundation

Date:
2016 - ongoing

Country:
Kenya
South Africa


Africa’s populations are growing at a rapid pace and job opportunities are not keeping up with the growth, particularly among the youth. Youth unemployment is increasingly a challenge in many African countries and South Africa is no exception.

To overcome this The Rockefeller Foundation launched the Digital Jobs Africa (DJA) initiative in 2013 to catalyse new, sustainable employment opportunities and skills training for African youth, with a focus on the ICT sector. The goal of the DJA is to influence change in business practice by demonstrating the value of impact sourcing and contribute to the social and economic well-being of the youth and their circle of influence.

In order to influence change in business practices, the DJA needs to identify and showcase the benefits of impact sourcing to increase commitment to this among new corporate partners. Genesis has been contracted to fulfill this objective as the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) partner for the DJA.

Additionally, Rockefeller aims to pursue a results-based management approach to the management of the DJA, where on-going learnings are fed back into the initiative’s design and implementation to maximise its effectiveness and impact. Ensuring that this approach is achieved by the initiative is the mandate of the M&E partner. Rockefeller aims to promote accountability of the initiative’s disbursements, which is the final objective of the M&E partner.

Enterprise project tests rural youth employment plan

Project name:
Evaluation of Strengthening Rural Youth Development through Enterprise (STRYDE) programme phase I and II

Service:
Monitoring and evaluation

Sector:
Africa’s youth wave

Area of Expertise:
Evaluation & impact assessment

Client:
TechnoServe / Mastercard Foundation

Date:
2017

Country:
Kenya
Rwanda
Tanzania
Uganda


Twenty percent of the world’s youth live in Africa and the percentage is expected to increase substantially over the next few decades. 

Despite recent economic growth, the continent has failed to effectively absorb the youth into its labour markets. This is true even in Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda where enrolment in tertiary education has been increasing.

To try to disrupt the current labour market trends in these countries, TechnoServe implemented the first phase of the Strengthening Rural Youth Development through Enterprise (STRYDE) programme in Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda from 2011 with funding from the Mastercard Foundation. 

STRYDE is in its second phase with Tanzania included. It is a youth economic opportunities programme that helps young people in rural areas through training and ‘after-care’ services, and provides critical soft and technical skills, linkages and finance to harness opportunities, expand their enterprises and find employment.

TechnoServe commissioned evaluations of STRYDE I and II to understand their impact, learn from the implementation of both phases, and test the sustainability of their roll-out model. 

The evaluation, carried out by Genesis Analytics, found that the programme had contributed to demystifying financial services, created linkages with market players and employers, stimulated economic activity, and improved community perceptions of the youth.


Impact of in-school classes for budding Entrepreneurs

Project name:
Impact evaluation of startUP&go

Service:
Monitoring and evaluation

Sector:
Africa’s youth wave

Area of Expertise:
Evaluation and impact assessment

Client:
International Labour Organisation (ILO)

Date:
2016 - ongoing

Country:
South Africa


The startUP&go programme is funded by the International Labour Organisation and provided to learners in grades 10, 11 and 12 who are enrolled for business studies in Free State province.

The programme aims to develop entrepreneurial interest and intention by supplementing the curriculum resources for use in the classroom.

Genesis Analytics was contracted to conduct an impact evaluation targeting learners who had completed three years of the programme between 2012-2015.

Key to this is establishing what young people are doing now, whether they are using the resources provided by startUP&go and whether they are running their own businesses or in the process of starting a business. 

The evaluation will use baseline data collected in 2012 to compare changes which may have happened because of the programme. This will inform further roll-out of the programme to new schools.

ILO policy brief: Educating entrepreneurs: Can in-school youth be taught to start a business? Evidence from South Africa

Financial inclusion can address Africa's youth job crisis

Project name:
Review of a financial inclusion funding initiative

Service:
Monitoring and evaluation

Sector:
Financial services strategy

Area of Expertise:
Evaluation & impact assessment

Client:
Private foundation

Date:
2015 - 2016

Country:
Ghana
Kenya
Rwanda
Senegal
Tanzania
Uganda


Africa's youth bulge presents an opportunity to reap a demographic dividend on the continent. But only if the right conditions are in place, particularly providing young people with skills and opportunities to work.

Large amounts of donor funding have been channelled to the supply side of this problem: improving youth skills and encouraging them to become entrepreneurs. But this failed where there was insufficient demand for young people in the job market. Financial inclusion can play a key role in addressing this by helping small and medium enterprises to become more productive and grow, thereby employing more young people. 

Genesis partnered with a prominent private foundation in the financial inclusion community to identify what the foundation had learned from its work in expanding access to formal financial services across the continent. This review took place against a broader strategic shift towards youth employment creation as a primary objective for many donors. Our analysis was geared towards identifying how financial inclusion could support the employability of young people in Africa as well as create work for them in the marketplace. 

We used foundation staff interviews, an extensive review of partner FSP documentation, and our own experience of working with banks and MFIs across the continent to conduct the review. We were able to isolate the organisational assets the foundation had built, which could be leveraged to support youth employment creation. 

We identified two channels through which this could take place: at the household level, creating resilience against extreme poverty, and at the enterprise level, helping micro, small and medium enterprises MSMEs to grow and employ more young people. The review highlighted that most of the FSPs that received foundation support provided services to individuals and survivalist micro enterprises. There was also little evidence that this created concrete economic opportunities for the poor, particularly the youth, on a significant scale. 

Our analysis attributed this finding partly to the limitation of supporting FSPs to expand to unserved market segments alone, without considering the many other constraints associated with poverty. 

Achieving youth employment requires addressing constraints in financial inclusion as well as in the education system and labour market and also ecosystem-level constraints such as regulation, market infrastructure, information, and informal norms and attitudes. We helped our client think through how to adapt programming models for this new multidimensional reality in a way which maximises impact by addressing multiple constraints across multiple systems and levels within a single context.        

Review shows way to increase financial access

Harambee mid-term Evaluation

Project name:
Harambee mid-term Evaluation

Service:
Monitoring and evaluation

Sector:
Public and Social
Africa’s youth wave

Area of Expertise:
Evaluation and impact assessment

Client:
A MasterCard Foundation programme managed by Harambee

Date:
2015

Country:
South Africa


Harambee is an organisation that addresses knowledge and skills gaps among unemployed young people in South Africa and aims to link them to entry-level job opportunities. Having placed more than 10 000 young work-seekers in employment in three years, Harambee has built an effective model that provides unemployed youth with access to job opportunities.

To define its options and strategies for continued growth and sustainability, it was important to investigate the drivers and determinants of its success. Genesis Analytics was contracted to help understand how this was done, how much it cost and how Harambee could continue to fulfill its goal. The findings were used to inform Harambee's expansion into new sectors in partnership with the South African Government

Impact Study of internship programme on Harambee candidates

Project name:
Impact Study of the Momentum Financial Advisor Internship Programme on Harambee candidates

Service:
Monitoring and evaluation

Sector:
Public and Social
Africa’s youth wave

Area of Expertise:
Evaluation and impact assessment

Client:
Momentum

Date:
2015 - 2016

Country:
South Africa


Momentum is a leading South African financial services provider. It recently introduced an internship programme to identify and provide young people, who have had work experience, with an opportunity for long-term employment as financial advisers. The people were recruited from Harambee, an organisation that addresses skills gaps of unemployed young people and links them to employment opportunities.

Genesis was contracted to conduct a study of how participation in the internship influenced young people's social and economic circumstances. The purpose of the impact study was to determine whether the internship programme met its objectives, and to identify areas of greater or lesser success to inform the implementation of future financial-adviser internship programmes.

Assessment of youth employment project in Bosnia, Herzegovina

Project name:
Value Assessment of a Monitoring and Results Measurement System for the MarketMakers Project

Service:
Monitoring and evaluation
Market systems development

Sector:
Africa’s youth wave

Area of Expertise:
Design, review and support of M&E systems

Client:
A SDC programme managed by Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation

Date:
2016

Country:
Bosnia and Herzegovina


The MarketMakers programme is funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and implemented by Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation and Posao.BA in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). MarketMakers is focusing on the creation of decent job opportunities for young people using a market systems approach in tourism, food processing and ICT sectors.

Genesis Analytics was contracted to conduct a value assessment of the MarketMakers monitoring and results measurement (MRM) system. Key to this assessment was to establish which MRM activities were high or low value for money, given their estimated benefit compared with the investment required, and whether it was worthwhile for MarketMakers to become fully compliant with the DCED Standard.

Conducting a value assessment on the activities of an MRM system is a new technique that is being used to evaluate MRM investment and functionality. There is no standard approach and the Genesis team, with input from the MarketMakers team, developed an innovative solution – a DCED-mock audit on the current MRM, appreciative inquiry sessions with the MarketMakers team and interviews with the programme’s market partners and funders. This provided the evidence base from which priority MRM tasks were identified. Genesis then created an MRM value-cost matrix where each priority task was rated on factors of decision-making and learning (value addition), and time and investment (costs). 

Understanding the value and cost associated with different MRM tasks provided the analytical basis for recommendations on which tasks were considered high or low value for money. These findings will assist MarketMakers, and other Helvetas programmes, to better understand the trade-offs in MRM systems. They will also improve future focus on those MRM activities that have higher value for money. MarketMakers were also faced with the question of whether to seek DCED Standard compliance, and through the value assessment, Genesis was able to provide evidence to inform its decision on this matter.

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Technical Advisory to National Treasury's Jobs Fund

Project name:
National Treasury Jobs Fund Monitoring and Evaluation Technical Advisory

Service:
Monitoring and evaluation

Sector:
Public and Social
Africa’s youth wave

Area of Expertise:
Design, review and support of M&E systems

Client:
National Treasury (South Africa)

Date:
2011 - ongoing

Country:
South Africa


Unemployment is arguably the most serious social and economic challenge facing South Africa. In 2011 the South African National Treasury launched the Jobs Fund in response to South Africa's high unemployment rate. 

The Jobs Fund is a competitive grant fund based on challenge fund principles. It was created by bringing about a partnership of the public and private sectors. It aims to go beyond simply funding work opportunities. It seeks innovative models that prioritise systemic solutions and creates sustainable new permanent jobs. Through its project partners, the fund aims to create 150 000 such new permanent jobs.

Genesis was appointed as technical advisers (TA) to the Jobs Fund to provide support for investment strategy, governance, monitoring and evaluation (M&E) and general operations. Within the M&E role, Genesis was responsible for:

  1. Developing the overarching Jobs Fund theory of change
  2. Monitoring the overarching Jobs Fund logframe and supporting fund-level reporting
  3. Defining fund-level outcomes indicators
  4. Supporting grantee monitoring processes
  5. Providing quality assurance support to grantee reporting processes
  6. Supporting external evaluation processes
  7. Advising grantees on project-level evaluation activities
  8. Facilitating the Jobs Fund's learning agenda.

To date, the Jobs Fund has committed funds in the following thematic areas: infrastructure, institutional capacity building, support for work-seekers, enterprise development, support for smallholder farmers and innovation in job creation.

Impact Evaluation of Passport to Success

Project name:
Impact Evaluation of Passport to Success

Service:
Monitoring and evaluation

Sector:
Africa’s youth wave

Area of Expertise:
Evaluation and impact assessment

Client:
International Youth Foundation

Date:
2016 - ongoing

Country:
South Africa


The International Youth Foundation (IYF) is dedicated to improving youth economic opportunities. Its most recent country strategy for South Africa is to strengthen learnerships and internships for unemployed youth, helping to bridge the skills gap between young people’s abilities and the competencies that employers seek. The plan is to use systems, such as those run by industry partners and Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges, and strengthen them by integrating the IYF’s Passport to Success (PTS) life skills curriculum to improve completion rates and post-training employment rates. 

The IYF is piloting this strategy in partnership with EOH by integrating the PTS curriculum into the EOH Youth Job Creation Initiative. It has commissioned Genesis to conduct a quasi-experimental impact evaluation of the programme. The purpose of the evaluation is to generate evidence around the impact of PTS for both businesses and the participating youth, as well as to assess the return-on-investment (ROI) for companies that employ youths who have acquired the life skills taught through the PTS curriculum.

Mid-term review of DFID project in Mombasa

Project name:
Mid-term Review of the DFID-funded Kuza Project in Mombasa

Service:
Monitoring and evaluation
Market systems development

Sector:
Public and Social
Africa’s youth wave

Area of Expertise:
Evaluation and impact assessment

Client:
DFID Kenya

Date:
2015 - 2016

Country:
Kenya


Kuza is a market systems development intervention funded by DFID Kenya aimed at creating employment opportunities for unemployed young people in Mombasa, Kenya. It was launched in Mombasa in May 2014 and is expected to run until June 2017. 

Genesis was contracted to conduct a mid-term evaluation which assessed the efficiency and effectiveness of project implementation, evaluate how any changes in intervention design and delivery could be improved in the future, and identify opportunities for development and project scale up.

We conducted interviews and focus-group discussions with market players as well as the beneficiary youth. This information, together with desktop review, internal interviews and the analysis of Kuza’s existing monitoring data, was used to answer the evaluation questions. 

The evaluation framework was aligned to the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) criteria with an additional scale criteria which was modelled on the approach outlined in Coburn’s (2003) “Rethinking scale: Moving beyond numbers to deep and lasting change”. At the end of the mid-term evaluation, 

Genesis workshopped the programme level theory of change with the funder and the implementers. Using the findings of the evaluation, the revised theory of change reflected the critical assumptions underlying the impact pathways and provided the client with a better understanding of the market system in which its intervention was operating. 

The evaluation also provided a response to the question of scale, highlighting obtainable and evidence-based solutions to scaling and replication, while also cautioning against full programme scale-up before a fully established proof of concept.

Meet the Team

Areas of Service Expertise

  • Monitoring and evaluation
  • Evaluation and impact assessment
  • Youth in agriculture
  • Ongoing support as a learning partner
  • Design, review and support of M&E systems
  • Financial inclusion

Related Sectors

Projects

Project

Making agriculture markets more accessible to youth

Genesis was commissioned by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) to find a way to make young people more effective in agriculture.

View Project
Project

Diagnosing MSME development challenge in Africa

Genesis partnered with a private foundation to diagnose the MSME landscape in four countries to understand the key growth constraints and programming opportunities for MSME development.

View Project

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Leading the team

​Alyna Wyatt

Partner (Evaluation for Development)

​Alyna Wyatt
Partner (Evaluation for Development)
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Shingi Nyamwanza

Manager

Shingi Nyamwanza
Manager
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Richard Ketley

Director and Managing Partner (Financial Services Strategy)

Richard Ketley
Director and Managing Partner (Financial Services Strategy)
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Sydney Zharare

Partner (Agribusiness and Market Development)

Sydney Zharare
Partner (Agribusiness and Market Development)
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Saul Johnson

Partner (Health)

Saul Johnson
Partner (Health)
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