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African Foothold for U.K. Entrepreneurs in Tandem with Aphria

Written by Peter McCusker

With the backing of a Canadian cannabis giant two British entrepreneurs have established a new CBD production plant in Africa’s most developed cannabis nation.

Lesotho has a history of illegal cannabis production stretching back centuries and became the first African country to approve medical pot cultivation in 2017. Shortly after legalization Ontario-based Aphria launched a joint venture with U.K. extraction company Verve Dynamics. This JV, known as Cann Invest Africa, aims to export Lesotho CBD to global markets. 

Partners Help Fund School Build

Cann Invest’s partner in Lesotho is the Matekane Group of Companies; it cultivates the cannabis crop needed for the production plant. Brits Richard Davies and Joe Simon are Directors of Verve Dynamic and in conjunction with Sam Matekane, say their investments will contribute to a rapidly growing industry, with the potential to create hundreds of jobs, reports the Telegraph.

The three have also provided the funds to build a school near the factory for 2,000 children. Vic Neufeld, CEO of Aphria which prides itself on being a value for money cannabis proposition, said: “Given the abundant natural resources and our collective expertise and that of our partners, Verve is poised to become one of the lowest-cost producers of medical cannabis extracts in the world.” 

Game Changer for African Cannabis

Mr Davies, Managing Director of Verve described the partnership with Aphria as ‘a game-changer for the cannabis industry’. 

“We are very excited to be working with Aphria, who are undoubtedly the most agile and forward-thinking company in the cannabis space, period. Together we aim to effectively network with multiple opportunities across the African continent with a keen focus on jobs creation, and most importantly community participation,” he said.

Cann Invest also plans to expand its footprint through additional licensing and commercial opportunities across the African continent.

Grandmother Helped Make Investment

Mr Simon, a London-based film producer who became the first investor in the venture, said he was convinced of CBD’s health benefits by his grandmother. A second Canadian cannabis company has beaten a path to Lesotho, with Toronto-based Supreme Cannabis Company investing $10m into Medigrow, giving it a 10% share of the business.

Medigrow was granted permission by the Lesotho government to begin cultivation in 2016 and the partners have entered into a long-term, distribution partnership which will see cannabis oil exported to Canada and elsewhere.

‘The African Cannabis Report’– published by Prohibition Partners, estimated that Africa’s legal Cannabis market could be worth over US$7.1 billion by 2023.

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About the author

Peter McCusker

Peter McCusker is an experienced news and business editor, who believes it’s time to fully embrace the multiple, proven, medical benefits of the cannabis plant.