MAPPING THE AGRI-FOOD ECOSYSTEM IN THE MENA REGION
An Introduction to Food, Agriculture and Water Ecosystems in The Middle East and North Africa
Part XII – Algeria
As Kök Projekt, we are an agri-food startup accelerator and an innovation partner for the food, agriculture, and water sector companies. We conduct research, prepare reports, and follow agri-food ecosystem dynamics. We find it very informative to know the stakeholders in the industry. We work locally and globally.
This year, we dived into the MENA Region to map out the key players within its ecosystems. The region has one of the youngest populations in the world. According to a McKinsey report, an average of 88% of the MENA region population is online daily, and 94% of the population owns a smartphone(1). The region is also home to more than 500 million people and has a high potential for an agri-food ecosystem. Moreover, according to the Magnitt Report, The MENA Region-based start-ups saw a record USD1BN investment in 2020 (2). The investment volume is a good indicator of the region’s potential for entrepreneurial ecosystems. In the MENA Region, we started our mapping journey with Bahrain; then, we mapped ten more countries. For our latest map (at least for now) in the region, we looked for the actors in the Algerian ecosystem.
Entrepreneurial ecosystems aim to support economic development by promoting entrepreneurship and helping the growth of small-medium enterprises. When we look at the agri-food ecosystem for a specific country, we see complex networks in general. In Algeria also there are several actors engaged in the agri-food business; with this map, we aim to catch a comprehensive view of the agri-food sector in the Algerian Ecosystem.
Building The Map; Algeria’s Entrepreneurship Ecosystem
Geography and Demographics
Algeria is bordered to the northeast by Tunisia; to the east by Libya; to the southeast by Niger; to the southwest by Mali, Mauritania, and Western Sahara; to the west by Morocco. It is the largest country in Africa. The country has a Mediterranean coastline and Saharan desert interior (3). With a population of over 40 million people, Algeria has the potential for entrepreneurship. The country ranked 80th out of 137 countries in the 2018 Global Entrepreneurship Index. In addition, 49% of the population uses the internet, and the median age is 28.9, while the population under 15 age represents 30.7% of the total population.
For creating Algeria’s Agri-Food ecosystem map, we started our research by which governmental and public organizations are involved as governmental, and public organizations play a vital role in the entrepreneurship ecosystem. The Algerian Government also shows an effort to grow a culture of innovation. The country wants to make a transition from an oil-driven economy to a tech-driven one. In January 2017, the Parliament, with a vision for supporting the financing of startups and the growth of an entrepreneurial culture, adopted the orientation law for the development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)(4).
On our map, you will find governmental and public organizations that play a role in the entrepreneurship ecosystem of Algeria.
As Kök Projekt, we are an agri-food start-up accelerator. We follow start-ups from all over the world carefully. To create our map, we used our database and searched on the internet for developments in Algeria’s food and agriculture start-up ecosystem. Start-ups help to create jobs, boost the economy, find solutions to solve local and regional challenges. For example, the Middle East and North Africa Region (MENA) is widely regarded as the world’s most water-scarce region (5). So it is not surprising that one of the leading Algerian startups is working on water; Goutra. You will discover more start-ups on our map working in various fields from kitchen and restaurant technologies, e-commerce, CPG to delivery.
As Kök Projekt, we are an innovation partner for the food, agriculture, and water sector companies. We follow them carefully. To create our map, we used our database and searched the internet for the private sector companies in Algeria. In our latest MENA region map, we put companies from various sectors such as CPG, energy, finance, and IT/ICT sectors that help build a better ecosystem.
Investors are critical players in growing a vibrant startup ecosystem. They can provide the capital that many entrepreneurs needed. Investors also support entrepreneurs by assisting the business plan, providing mentorship, sharing their knowledge to make the business successful. In the investment ecosystem of Algeria, we see a commitment of the government and some privately held VCs to support the ecosystem. One of the most significant public players is ANSEJ, The National Youth Employment Support Agency (Agence Nationale de Soutien à l’Emploi des Jeunes), which provides loans to young entrepreneurs. In addition, Casbah Business Angels is one of the leading local angel investors in the private funding area, supporting entrepreneurs with seed funding. You will find more investors on our map.
Incubator & Accelerator & Support Organizations
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)–Eurostat Entrepreneurship Indicators Programme’s proposed a conceptual definition of entrepreneurs as follows: Entrepreneurs are those persons (business owners) who seek to generate value, through the creation or expansion of economic activity, by identifying and exploring new products, processes or markets (6).
Entrepreneurs seek to create value; however, their journey is long and has many ups and downs. They need support. Incubators, accelerators, co-working spaces, and support platforms are the main helpers for the entrepreneurship journey. Incubators and accelerators provide entrepreneurs with mentorship and acceleration and incubation services. They also put entrepreneurs in touch with global experts to improve their businesses and ideas. A significant supporter of entrepreneurship in Algeria is INJAZ El Djazair. It has trained over 10.000 entrepreneurs between 2010-2016 (7). Sylabs and IncubMe are other vital players in the support ecosystem. Algeria also has many co-working spaces such as InnovaCo Space, La Bulle, etc. You will find many other accelerators, incubators, and support organizations that we can not mention here but on our map.
This is not a full-scale map of the Algeria Agri-Food Ecosystem.
You can reach our 2021 Algerian Agri-Food Ecosystem Map here.