Every year, roughly 140 million bags of coffee beans – worth over $16 billion – are traded globally. Though Africa has a small share of the worlds’ consuming population, Uganda, Ethiopia and Code D’Ivoire are distinguishing themselves as Africa’s largest producers and exporters of coffee.
Meet the Ugandan born Andrew Rugasira. His approach to the coffee business is unique and ostentatiously distinct. He is the entrepreneur and brain behind Good African Coffee, a social business in Uganda that has disrupted and transformed the coffee value chain in that country.” According to him, every society and economy that’s prospered has done it through their own hard work, ingenuity, dedication and commitment.” – Andrew says the latter. He is a man who believes in the informative power of self help as opposed to charities and handouts as has often been the case when it comes to Africa. Listen to him speak.
There is a rise in global coffee consumption despite the turmoil faced by local farmers in world market due to price fluctuation. Arabica coffee has posted the largest decline among 22 raw materials in the Bloomberg Commodity Index, dropping 24% this year; Robusta coffee has similarly fallen 16%. African coffee producers – such as Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania – may be hit by even lower revenues from their coffee exports at a time when they desperately need to earn some hard currency to shore up their sliding currencies.
Yet, Rugasira, who doubles as an economist leaves no stone unturned. With his different and finest species like rukoki gold, expresso roast, rwenzori mountains, he leaves his consumers with the coffee that have special characteristics and a unique flavor and taste due to the micro climates and soils they’re grown in.
Around the world, the demand for specialty coffee is overtaking ‘normal’ types of coffee. It’s no surprise that top retailers in North America and Europe are stocking up on specialty coffee, which now accounts for one of every two cups of coffee consumed in America, and makes up to 40% of coffee supply in Europe.
Guess what? Africa is famous for its specialty coffee beans. And this is why key specialty coffee producers like Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Cameroon, Zambia, Burundi and Congo will benefit a lot from the growing demand for specialty coffee around the world. In fact, the growth of domestic consumption of coffee and of local coffee retailers could revitalise Africa’s coffee sector and overcome its perennial problems.