Food distributor attracts impact investors

Kwanza Tukule Chief Executive Khadija Mohamed Churchill. [David Gichuru, Standard]

Dutch-based investor DOB Equity has brought on board Elea Foundation and A to Z Impact to fund the expansion of Kwanza Tukule.

The Nairobi-based last-mile distribution business that supplies staple foods to cook meals with was founded in 2019 for the informal vendors based in the densely populated areas of Nairobi.

This as it is estimated that 25 per cent of Kenya’s population lives in cities and that it is expected to rapidly increase to 40 per cent in 2040.

Yet most of the urban population living in informal settlements remains cut-off from modern and efficient food supply chains. Many other dwellers lack kitchens and the money for proper cooking equipment and face long commute to work. They therefore depend on street food vendors for affordable and accessible meals.

And despite their importance in feeding a significant part of the city’s population, informal food vendors on the other hand  face difficult operating conditions. These include expensive and unreliable supplies and limited economies of scale.

Kwanza Tukule Chief Executive Khadija Mohamed Churchill (pictured) noted that people living in urban centers in Kenya get 33 per cent of their nutritional intake from street food and for low-income neighborhoods, more than 40 per cent of households consume street food, adding that this was the market Kwanza Tukule was tapping into.

“We are a cashless, B2B business using technology to ensure there is accessible, affordable and nutritious food for the many people that work and live in low-income areas in Kenya,” Khadija said.

DOB Equity Chief Executive Saskia van der Mast said the firm among the first institutional investors in Twiga Foods in 2016 targets urban areas where people can spend more than 50 per cent of household income on food.

“We are excited by Kwanza Tukule and its team .... The company is addressing key issues of some of the most marginalized communities in urban settlements,” added van der Mast.