Hunger is one of the major problems faced by Africans. The U.N. Millennium Project reported that over 40 percent of all Africans are unable to regularly obtain sufficient food. This is why 21-year-old Congolese entrepreneur, Benedict Mundele, who believes the food potential of the Democratic Republic of Congo can feed the world, wants to make a change in her country, which suffers from food poverty like the rest of Africa.
Mundele is the founder of Surprise Tropicale, an organic local food canteen and catering company that aims to promote a sustainable and healthy lifestyle in her community in the capital Kinshasa.
See excerpt from her interview with Venture Africa:
The idea came to her while studying hospitality and researching food produced in tropical environments. She was shocked to discover that the DRC imported so much of the food it should be producing in abundance. Furthermore, a lot of the food it does produce gets exported cheaply, processed in other countries, and sold back to the country at more expensive prices.
“Like mangos,” she highlighted. “Mangos are grown in tropical climates like the DRC. But we have mango juice sold in our country that comes from elsewhere where it is not tropical. It is very expensive and a lot of people can’t afford it.
“It was Congo’s food poverty that inspired me to do something,” she said. “We have the potential to produce many foods but it’s being wasted. And people are suffering because they don’t have anything to eat.”
Being the difference
Mundele was 16 when she started Surprise Tropicale, which began by supplying breakfasts to members of the Kuvuna Foundation, a youth skills empowerment and leadership organisation.
Today, the company produces its own organic snacks and meals, such as chips made from coconut or ginger. She also runs her own take-away outlet, and supplies produce to nearby shops. She only sells food produced locally and is hoping to promote a healthy lifestyle.
Her entrepreneurial vision and efforts led to her selection as an Anzisha Prize finalist last year, a competition that recognises young Africans who are using entrepreneurship to bring positive change to their community. She was also named one of the promising young World Economic Forum (WEF) ‘Global Shapers’ and was selected to attend the WEF on Africa, held in Nigeria, last year.
Read more on VentureAfrica.com