Sub-Saharan Africa

In Africa we work in two distinct regions where we are advancing gender equity, creating meaningful jobs for the region's large youth population, and combating climate-related impacts.

In East Africa, smallholder farmers grow coffee, macadamia nuts, and sorghum that powers the economy, as well as local food crops to feed the growing population. These farmers depend on agricultural businesses to help them access domestic and international markets. With a regional office in Kenya and colleagues based throughout the region, we help these businesses grow.

West Africa is a region dominated by farming, with families cultivating everything from cash crops to nutritious local grains. We’re innovating new ways to finance and train agricultural enterprises that buy local food crops—cassava, rice, millet—to feed the region’s rapidly-growing population while also working with businesses to improve livelihoods for the region’s cocoa farmers.

Sub-Saharan AfricaIn this region we currently work in Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda.

Stories of Impact


Eighteen Years Later, Our Work Is Far From Over

On a warm, breezy day in the sleepy Congolese city of Bukavu, I find myself on the back of a boda-boda motorcycle taxi, puttering down the unpaved city streets on my way to the National Office of Coffee. Down every alleyway I catch glimpses of the morning sun glimmering off of the calm waters of Lake Kivu. It’s the first day of “Saveur du Kivu,” a celebration of the reemergence of specialty coffee in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the country’s premier coffee event. I’m here representing Root Capital, which happens to be the largest coffee lender in the region.

Reflecting on “Rwandan Women Rising”

  On a summer evening in Cambridge, MA, author, educator, and former ambassador Swanee Hunt sat down with activist Chantal Kayitesi and Root Capital founder and CEO Willy Foote to discuss the important role that women have played in Rwanda’s recovery from conflict. Hunt is the author of Rwandan Women Rising, a book she wrote to celebrate the visionary women who are paving the road to Rwanda’s recovery and reconciliation in the wake of the 1994 genocide.

Embracing Partnerships, Expanding Opportunities

Pathological collaboration. It’s a phrase we use frequently at Root Capital — a phrase that speaks to our willingness to embrace partnerships in order to expand economic opportunities for as many smallholder farmers as possible. Earlier this year, I got to see that approach in action.

In the Hills of Northeast Congo, an Underdog Steps into the Ring

Hills rise into the sky in the coffeelands of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).  Looking out the window as my taxi jostles along a bumpy dirt road that winds from Goli to Ndrele town through the hills of the northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), I’m struck by the peaceful scenery that surrounds us. Grassy hills spotted with groves of trees and small gardens of banana, maize, and coffee trees rise gently into the horizon, stretching for miles on either side of the road. However, this region’s apparent tranquility belies a violent past — and scars that a few scrappy businesses are fighting against all odds to heal. 

Laying the First Stones towards Gender Equity

Women carry stones that will form the foundation of a new sorghum collection and storage center.  As part of my role with Root Capital, I’m privileged to travel to remote areas in Africa and Latin America to meet with our clients and the smallholder farmers at the core of their business. Recently, I was in Meru, Kenya, with my colleague Erick Sakwa, Root Capital’s Women in Agriculture coordinator for East Africa.

Cultivating the Next Crop of Agricultural Entrepreneurs

Young managers participating in a financial management training hosted by Root Capital. Photo credit: Stuart Freedman/Argidius Foundation The annual macadamia harvest is now underway in Kenya, and The Village Nut Company’s hilltop factory in Nyeri County is buzzing with activity. As farmers deliver their crop and employees carefully hand-sort the finest nuts, the Muhara siblings are busy mentoring the next generation of agricultural entrepreneurs, fulfilling a promise they made years ago.