The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, has recognised Bakhresa Grain Milling (Malawi) Limited (BGM) as the only winner of the G20 challenge on inclusive business innovation in Africa out of 300 companies assessed globally.
G20 challenge on inclusive business innovation, which has awarded 15 companies, is a global competition managed by the IFC.
The worldâ€™s leading economies launched the G20 challenge to rapidly expand commercially viable businesses that serve large numbers of low-income people that constitute the base of the global economic pyramid.
Its goal is to identify, showcase and support innovative business models that can be replicated across developing countries.
In an interview on Wednesday, BGM business development manager Priyaranjan Nath called it a significant achievement for the company as they strive to reach the lowest level of society.
“This is a moment of pride for Malawi because one of its companies has won a very prestigious recognition on the global platform,” he said.
Nath observed that flour, the product the company produces, is not for the upper class, but for the rural masses which they use to earn a living.
He said BGM targets those who are at the bottom end of the pyramid in society.
The awards were presented at the G20 Summit in Los Cabos, Mexico, on Monday by Rogelio Granguillhome, executive secretary of the Mexican Agency for International Development Cooperation and chairperson of the G20 development working group.
IFC executive vice-president and chief executive officer Lars Thunell said: “The winners demonstrate that commercially viable companies can also provide economic opportunities for poor people, along with better access to clean water, electricity, health care, education, housing, phone services and financial services. They provide impressive models for others to follow.”
The IFC, in a statement, said the 15 winners together reach more than 40 million people living at the base of the economic pyramid as suppliers, distributors, retailers or customers in more than 10 countries.
It said, for example, BGM, as a flour producer, sells packaged wheat flour to commercial bakeries, small bakeries, retailers and supermarkets.
The company also offers its flour in small packages of five to 10 kilogrammes, which makes it easy for small retailers to buy, and uses vans to reach remote rural areas and distribute its products.
“Most importantly, BGM helps individuals, many of them women, launch their own micro-businesses, offering training programmes and workshops on how to sell baked goods. It trains them in bookkeeping and sales and offers workshops on how to use, store, and market flour and bread products, empowering these women to make their own living,” said the statement.
The 15 winners are; Agrofinanzas (Mexico), VINTE Viviendas Integrales (Mexico), Apollo Hospitals Group (India), Bakhresa Grain Milling (Malawi), Brilla, (Colombia), CorporaciÃ³n Universitaria Minuto de Dios (Colombia), Ecofiltro (Guatemala), Engro Foods Limited (Pakistan), Jain Irrigation Systems Ltd. (India), Manila Water Company (Philippines), Millicom (Luxembourg), Reybanpac Unidad de LÃ¡cteos (Ecuador), Sustainable Harvest Coffee Importers (United States), Tenda Atacado Ltd (Brazil), and Waterlife India Private Limited (India).
BGM is part of the Bakhresa Group, one of the leading industrial houses in Tanzania, East Africa with operations spread in Tanzania, Zanzibar, Uganda, Kenya, Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique.
The group now boasts of a turnover of more than $300 million and employs more than 2 000 people.