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Using Africa Goodnest, small but export-ready brands reach a global audience

Most of what's exported from African countries leaves the continent as raw commodities. That doesn't just result in meager profits for farmers but robs the products of their identity. Cocoa beans used in a mass-produced candy bar are in no way recognized as originating from Cote d'Ivoire or Ghana.

Small farmers and other food producers haven't had many alternatives, lacking direct access to the global market. Africa Goodnest aims to hook them up by presenting their export-ready, branded personal care products, artisanal foods, herbs and spices to wholesale buyers worldwide. All of the goods — shea butter body bars, herbal teas, mango jam, dried papaya, hot sauces, coffee and more — are natural and created by small brands.

Africa Goodnest, founded in 2021, helps entrepreneurs with all associated logistics, from inventory to shipping. Based in Accra, the platform currently features brands primarily from Ghana (plus coconut oil from Benin) but hopes to include more African countries in the future.

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The global market may still be dominated by multinational brands with supply chains that link across regions, but tech-forward upstarts are making pathways and enabling producers to take back ownership of their economy by adding value to agricultural products. The benefits are multifold: producers can create jobs and reinvest in their local economy. Consumers, meanwhile, welcome the opportunity to connect to the source of the products they buy, especially if they're aware of the ongoing need to decolonize.

Bernice Yalley, founder of Africa Goodnest, points out that the number of export-ready natural products has exploded over the past few years: "Africans are creating high-quality consumable goods that are on par with items that we typically import from abroad. It is us showing that we are more than just receivers of goods or exporters of raw materials, but that we too can transform our indigenous ingredients into something beautiful." Redefining globalization, her platform aims to be "collaborative with a touch of defiance."