South Africa


Despite being a middle-income, emerging market with an abundant supply of natural resources, South Africa continues to face high unemployment, poverty and inequality.

TechnoServe’s work is closely aligned with the government’s new National Development Plan, which aims to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by drawing on the energies of the people, growing an inclusive economy, building capabilities, enhancing state capacity and promoting leadership and partnerships.

TechnoServe's vision is to help generate sustainable growth across the country and to make the benefits and opportunities of economic growth accessible to everyone. TechnoServe is working with smallholder farmers to build competitive farms and gain access to formal markets and financial services. We are also working with entrepreneurs from a wide range of sectors to help grow successful businesses that generate jobs and income in their communities.

On The Ground



Technical Assistance Facility

Access to finance is an obstacle to entrepreneurship, particularly in the agricultural sector in Africa. The African Agriculture Fund (AAF), a private equity fund, was created to help increase investment in agriculture and agribusiness in the region with the ultimate objective of increasing food security. TechnoServe serves as the implementing agency of the Technical Assistance Facility (TAF), which provides technical assistance to the portfolio companies invested in by the AAF. The TAF is funded primarily by the European Union and managed by IFAD. As of 2016 the TAF has funded 32 projects with 10 portfolio companies across Africa and supported five SMEs with their growth strategies. TAF has committed €3.6m and has €3.4m remaining for projects in the pipeline.
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Improving Livelihoods for Maize Farmers

TechnoServe, in partnership with Kellogg’s Company, launched a program in 2015 to improve smallholder livelihoods in the Lambasi area of the Eastern Cape Province, which has the highest poverty levels in the country. The project seeks increase productivity of maize farmers in the area, as well as facilitating market connections and improve their resiliency to climate change. The program has provided training to 400 smallholders -- 70 percent of whom are women -- on good agronomic practices and farming as a business. The second phase of the project will focus on climate smart agricultural approaches, building off the improved technology and specialized training received during the first phase of the program.


Kellogg Company

Accelerating Women and Youth Led Businesses

The Accelerating Women Entrepreneurs in South African Metros (AWESAM) program aims to increase the economic participation of urban women and youth in the South African economy by converting subsistence-based businesses into high-growth and competitive ventures. AWESAM, which began in 2013, aimed to support 30 entrepreneurs through mentorship, business development services and access to finance to improve their small businesses. In late 2014 through late 2015, Citi Foundation supported TechnoServe in implementing a second phase of the program, AWESAM II. The project supported 83 business through business plan validation, individualized business advisory services and access to finance. Graduating businesses reported an increased financial benefit of over $125,000.


Citi Foundation

Directly from the Smallholder to the Shelf

In 2012, TechnoServe and Massmart Walmart launched a direct farm program which aims to put locally produced small-scale farmers’ produce on the shelves of Massmart. TechnoServe’s role involves training, mentoring, technical assistance and establishing links to both finance and retail markets for the farmers.

The program started as a twelve-month pilot with eight farmers in Limpopo in order to test and modify the underlying assumptions contained in the smallholder blueprint strategy and ensure the scalability of the direct farm program for smallholder farmers.

Since launch, several hundred tons of produce have been delivered and sold. The success of this project has led to a continued partnership with Massmart in which TechnoServe is working with approximately 87 new smallholder farmers.


Massmart Walmart

Promoting Sustainability in Agricultural Value Chains

In 2013, TechnoServe launched a program to improve the scalability and sustainability of our existing agricultural value chain programs in South Africa. This program addresses key shortcomings in the support systems and structures in which farmers and agribusinesses operate. By facilitating continued access to finance and markets, and promoting interventions to enhance the government’s enabling environment (extension services as well as policies), TechnoServe is helping the farming businesses in our programs continue to create economic opportunities in their communities long after the interventions end.

Blog Posts

December 5, 2017

“Just Get Up and Do Something”

Sarah LaFleur, a TechnoServe Fellow in South Africa who launched fashion startup MM.LaFleur, talks volunteering, fashion, and the power of entrepreneurship to change lives.

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November 9, 2016

Domestic Remittances in South Africa

A new study examines how the dynamic yet overlooked market of domestic remittances is boosting financial inclusion for South Africans.

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July 18, 2016

Natural Solutions: Innovative Opportunities in South Africa

Tumi Mphahlele struggled to find beauty products for her sensitive skin in South Africa, so she turned to her knowledge of biochemistry and began her own business.

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TechnoServe South Africa

37 Bath Avenue, 3rd Floor, BHF Building
Rosebank, Gauteng 2196
South Africa

Tel: +27 11 048 9900
Fax: +27 11 482 5588