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New Strategy

SustaiNet Consulting Limited has laid out its new strategy for the coming years. We asked our Director and CEO Tom Apina for a sneak-peak. 

Why a new strategy?

The former strategy was drawn up in 2018 and a lot has changed around us; there is a global movement to break silos in agriculture, nutrition, climate into a more holistic agri-food systems concept. At the same time we see a global “decolonization” of development with a bigger role for African actors to address their problems and less external experts flying in, accelerated by COVID-19 of course. We have to respond to these changes by investing in our internal capacities to deal with more and more complex project. Furthermore, we have built a new consulting team, with Moses Ogenche just joining, and with Steve Vundi joining us after working 2 years in one of our projects, and with much stronger guidance by Lennart Woltering (strategic director SCL) who has been instrumental in putting the strategy together.

What is new about this strategy?

There are two major elements that are new in the strategy, these are first a strong focus on improving the three critical parts of our business model; the company, acquisition and project management capacity. A strong capable company enables us to be eligible, qualify and participate in the project acquisition processes of donors. The capacity to acquire projects allows SCL to win and implement projects. The capacity to implement projects strengthens our financial resources, project references and the overall capacity of the company…and allows us to achieve our mission “to provide localized and innovative advisory services that make us a preferred consulting partner for sustainable transformation of agri-food systems in Africa “. This is a cycle that should keep strengthening itself, and we need to invest in all three parts. Second,  a short, mid and long term horizon. In the short term, we invest in staff and systems on more targeted thematic areas  to enable us to land larger projects in the mid-term to give us the stability to develop a strong pro-active component to the business within 5 years from now. We want to use our on-the-ground experience to develop unique approaches to, for example, market systems, digital agriculture, or other thematics that donors and partners should employ to respond better to the local realities.

We continue to strengthen partnerships with European and local companies and we feel privileged to be able to be that bridge diverse perspectives and experiences to support agri-food systems transformation in East Africa. We also continue to value our local networks and contacts and already two years ago we customized a software to be able to monitor and update our expert database. Consulting is very knowledge intensive so it is important to manage what we know and have. Fortunately, long before the COVID hit, we moved completely to cloud based systems and we continue to invest in online tools and systems to work paperless and remote.

What is not changing?

What are the strategic thematic areas where SCL provides top-notch services to its clients?

We have to look at our project history, our own internal capacities and the external capacities we can draw on from the expert database, those together define our core strengths. At the same time you have to be responsive to the market and invest in capacities to service future needs. For now, we settled on four major thematic areas:

1. Skills, employment, entrepreneurship, and value chain development

2. Climate Smart Agriculture, water, and drought

3. Governance and institutional development 

4. Innovation, scaling, and systems change. All within the agri-food space.

In one or more of these areas, we plan to develop further. This does not mean that we may not occasionally drift off into other areas when a good opportunity arises.

International donors, intermediaries such as IGAD and AGRA, but also international consulting companies, organisations and NGOs who look for local partners in (East) Africa. They should come to us because we are local, we have the connections, understand the context, compliant and cost-effective. At the same time we have strong international networks, especially in Germany, Netherlands and Scandinavia.Apart from the advanced softwares, systems and tools I mentioned before, we also are able to provide a “one-stop-shop” through synergies with the other subsidiary companies of the Sustainet Group Limited.

What clients is SCL targeting and why should they come to SCL?

Interesting, tell me more about that.

SustaiNet Consulting Limited (SCL) became an independent company under the SGL holding in early 2021. Together with Shiriki House (co-working ) and Vizuri360 (business services ) it constitutes a key business of the SustaiNet Group Limited (SGL) holding company. Synergies with Vizuri360 and Shiriki House in terms of networks, trust and being able to provide a broader package of services allows projects to “hit the ground running”.  

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