The potential of the cannabis industry in Africa to become the leading industry in sustainable green investments is slowly turning into a reality. Many African nations are starting to take meaningful action to leverage new investment opportunities as part of the post coronavirus economic recovery.
In South Africa, the first commercial shipment of medical cannabis was sent out to Switzerland a fortnight ago, as the regulatory barriers are slowly starting to fall by the wayside for the blossoming cannabis industry. The shipment of Dry Cannabis Flower was sent out from Cape Town by a leading South African cannabis cultivator and supplier, Felbridge.
The company, owned by the Zelter family, who are better known for their strawberry farms in Stellenbosch, received permission to open up a cannabis division in 2019 and opened up a 14,000m² facility repurposed from the existing greenhouses in the Cape winelands district.
“Exporting South Africa’s first commercial shipment of medical cannabis to Europe represents our most significant milestone to date,” Leslie Zelter, CEO of Felbridge, told TimesLive.
“It is a major achievement not only for our group but for the South African cannabis and hemp industry, and it reinforces our belief that our genetics, which are developed using artificial intelligence breeding technologies, will continue to experience strong demand from the European market.”
However, South Africa isn’t the only country in Africa to be making massive moves in legalizing and regulating the cannabis industry to attract foreign investment. After Lesotho became the first country to legalize cannabis in 2017, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Uganda, Rwanda, Ghana, Malawi, eSwatini, and Zambia have all been making reforms to some extent or another.
Just last week, Zimbabwe’s government approved an initiative called the “Green Industry Fund” in an attempt to lure foreign investors into funding the expansion of the Cannabis industry in the country, which has an abundance of fertile lands and is attempting to diversify from its exports, which are primarily tobacco crops at the moment. The government of Zimbabwe has issued forty-four licenses, and the industry is expected to yield as much as $1.25 billion this year.
Globally, the cannabis industry is on an upward trajectory. Given the rich, fertile lands and favorable climates, Africa is hands-down the best place to be growing outdoor cannabis plantations. The cannabis industry in Africa is starting to take shape. It can help us build green, sustainable economies geared towards a better future for a continent that is in need of creative solutions to complex problems.