Speaking at The Jerusalem Post London Conference, Haim Taib, president and founder of the Mitrelli Group and the Menomadin Foundation, and an expert in developing and empowering nations, said that Africa can easily turn into the world’s growth engine, creating growth for generations in food security.
Taib explained that the Mitrelli Group has developed models unique to Africa in cooperation with the public sector and financial entities. In 2002, after the Angolan Civil War ended, said Taib, he met with Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos, who was seeking civic projects to rebuild his country.
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Taib recommended that Angola emulate Israel’s formula for success. “I told him about the success of the Zionist story – how millions of people immigrated to Israel from all over the world, many of whom came from North Africa. They were sent directly to live in agricultural communities, such as the kibbutz and moshav, and together they established a new country through agriculture.”
Taib suggested that the Angolan government utilize discharged soldiers from both sides of the recently ended conflict to build cooperative settlements.
Dos Santos endorsed the idea, and the Mitrelli Group created the program, converting soldiers into farmers and establishing cooperative farming communities. “Twenty years later,” reported Taib, “this vision is a reality. In a peaceful valley in Angola, 1200 families live in 18 agricultural communities.”
Developing a new model for Africa, Taib said, was a difficult task that has required creativity and determination. He reported that the Mitrelli Group is currently operating more than 80 projects in Angola that employ thousands of people. They include water purification projects that serve more than one million people, as well as projects in Senegal and Ivory Coast.
In his remarks, Taib also discussed the Menomadin Foundation, which uses ‘smart’ money to present a blended approach, combining strategic philanthropy, impact investments and cross-sector partnerships. He cited the foundation’s involvement in Israeli start-up SupPlant, which utilizes sensors to collect data from the soil and the plant. The data is uploaded to the cloud, where it is analyzed, creating an irrigation program tailor-made for the plant.
Concluding his remarks, Taib offered to join forces with governments and business leaders who see the potential in Africa’s natural resources and its human capital. “We have developed unique models for developing countries that we would love to share,” he said.