News and Events

Connexus Conducts Crop Value Chain Analysis in Ethiopia

January 26th, 2018  

Connexus recently conducted a detailed crop value chain and market systems analysis in Ethiopia for Catholic Relief Services (CRS). The main purpose was to identify target crop value chains that offer the greatest potential for expansion and upgrading for two CRS programs in the country: the Livelihoods Resilience of Oromia (LOR) activity, implemented by CRS and Meki Catholic Secretariat (MCS), and the Development Funded Security Activity (DFSA), a Feed the Future initiative.

Connexus’ team of consultants collected primary and secondary data through interviews and focus group discussions with key value chain actors across 14 woredas (districts), and utilized different tools like territorial scoping and value chain analysis to identify and prioritize potential value chains for the projects to work with. The team then developed a competitiveness and upgrading strategy for each proposed crop value chain along with various business plan models.

The results of the analysis will help CRS and MCS implement value chain development activities and upgrading strategies that not only foster livelihood and income generation, but also contribute to positive nutrition outcomes and are inclusive to different genders and youth. This will help producers (men, women and youth) and groups become market-ready and engage with sustainable value chains and markets for economic growth and poverty alleviation.

Next Agricultural Value Chain Finance Training in Addis Ababa

August 31st, 2017  

Connexus will be conducting its well-respected Agricultural Value Chain Finance Training in Addis Ababa on October 12-13, 2017 at the Sheraton Addis Hotel as part of the African Microfinance Week.* Don’t miss out on this opportunity to gain qualified training from Connexus’ experts, led by President & CEO Anita Campion. Learn about developing commercially attractive financial services that meet the needs of the various actors in the value chain and how a value chain focus can result in market growth and reduced credit risk. Professionals involved in agricultural finance, financial institutions, development organizations, donor agencies and governmental agencies are encouraged to attend.

Learn more about the Agricultural Value Chain Finance Training here.

*In order to take part in the training, participants must also be registered for the African Microfinance Week event.

Cracking the Nut 2017 Publication

August 30th, 2017  

The Cracking the Nut 2017 publication is now available for the public! The conference sought to address many of the issues we face to reinforce food systems to meet the growing demand of urban centers around the world. We are encouraged and inspired by the work and innovations that were on display, and the discussions they generated during the two-day event. The Cracking the Nut team has been hard at work compiling and reviewing the most important takeaways from the conference.

The publication is a conglomeration of the main lessons learned from the conference and emphasizes specific cases of innovative methodologies and implementation practices that were presented. The goal of the publication is for it to be used as both a reference for lessons learned and as a catalyst for future discussions and ideas on this essential topic.

We would like to thank all of the speakers and reviewers who helped refine the publication’s lessons and assisted in its completion.

Go to the Cracking the Nut website to learn more about Cracking the Nut and to see previous years’ conference publications and information.

Scaling and Innovation in Agriculture Webinar

February 20th, 2017  
On February 17, Connexus’ CEO and President Anita Campion took part in a webinar on Scaling and Innovation in Agriculture, hosted by the Committee on Sustainability Assessment (COSA). The webinar also featured COSA’s president, Daniele Giovannucci and Dr. Tom Reardon, Michigan State University Distinguished Faculty and AAEA Fellow, and one of the world’s foremost thought leaders on agrifood economic development, as well as  the upcoming  Cracking the Nut: Reinforcing Food Systems to Meet Urban Demand conference’s keynote speaker.

As a preview to the issues that will be discussed at Cracking the Nut 2017, the webinar covered a variety of topics, including how to best prepare farmers for increasingly complex requirements within supply chains, the role of finance and business, and how inclusive supply chains can help create stronger linkages and opportunities for businesses and smallholder farmers.

In discussing access to finance, Anita Campion asserted that, “What we have seen consistently is the lack of access to finance continues to be one of the most significant barriers to rural and agricultural development and so ultimately it is an important factor for food security.” She discussed the different creative approaches that have been used in agricultural finance and value chain finance to address the remaining obstacles.

Cracking the Nut is a learning event that has looked at agricultural development through different lens. Initially, the conference focused on looked at financing rural agriculture, but over the years, it has zoomed in on different issues, such as food security, climate change, and this year it will focus on urban demand, and rural-to-urban linkages.

If you missed this very interesting and timely webinar, you can listen to it here. To learn more about this subject, and here about a variety of innovations to improve the sustainability of urban markets and strengthen rural-to-urban links, register today for the Cracking the Nut 2017 conference.


Connexus President and CEO Anita Campion Discusses Food Security and Value Chain Financing in Nigeria

February 20th, 2017  

In October 2016, Connexus President and CEO Anita Campion was a guest on the Nigerian talk show Magnus Kpakol global views Africa (gvA), which discusses Africa’s economic struggles and focuses on the continent’s continuing story of economic development in the context of a global political economy. Ms. Campion spoke with the show’s host, Dr. Magnus Kpakol, about a variety of topics including food security in Africa, value chain financing, the role of microfinance and agriculture in Nigeria.

See below for the video of the interview.



President & CEO Anita Campion Delivers Speech at Central Bank of Nigeria

November 1st, 2016  

In October, President & CEO Anita Campion delivered a speech during the Refined Economic Development (RED) Quarterly Lecture on “The Role of Monetary Policy in Job Creation” in Abuja, Nigeria. The quarterly lecture series are hosted and organized by Economic and Business Strategies (EBS), whose goal is to promote and develop competent and productive initiatives in the area of small enterprises in Nigeria. Ms. Campion spoke about a variety of issues, addressing the current state of the Nigerian job market and economy and the opportunities that agriculture and agribusinesses can provide to Nigerian job seekers.

Agriculture has ample room for growth in Nigeria, especially if supported by good business advisory services. She emphasized the importance of private and public dialogue and partnership when discussing how to create a stable and enabling environment for sustainable jobs, and cited the Central Bank’s 2013 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Fund as an example of how the government can support the growth of agricultural value chains in Nigeria.

Ms. Campion noted Connexus’ recent work in Ghana providing tripartite financing models to help farmers, processors, and banks create stable lines of credit and secure food supplies to promote growth and reduce risk at all levels of the agricultural value chain. Climate-smart agriculture is an integral part of sustainable growth and provides many investment opportunities, especially when linked to improving technology and innovation. Check out her full speech and the rest of the RED lectures below!

Watch the full RED Lecture below or click here!

Or watch the video segment of Ms. Campion’s speech below: