Cannabiz Africa and BusinessCann
SafriCanna’s Gauteng facility is reportedly Africa’s biggest producer of medical cannabis. Founded by Nigerian billionaire, Bassim Haidar, the company is aiming to invest US40 million in expanding the Centurian facility and rapidly increase international distribution.
SafriCanna’s Centurion facility is one of the largest and most advanced cannabis production facilities in South Africa. The company says it has received confirmation of the EU-GMP Part I Certification, which will enable it to continue expanding its footprint in Germany It is also eyeing new markets such as the UK and Poland.
Bassim Haidar, founder of SafriCanna told BusinessCann on 2 May 2023 that the company was now positioned for "explosive growth": “EU-GMP Certification is a huge milestone for the company, and now puts us in prime position to become one of the world’s major producers of medicinal cannabis.”
He said: “This Certification will also cement South Africa’s position as one of the best places to grow cannabis worldwide. We are seeing a strong, innovative, and high-quality cannabis industry evolve in South Africa, and we will play our own role in supporting the growth of the sector locally with our own continued investment and expansion.”
Haidar has also confirmed the $40 million investment (approximately R720 million) with a view on expanding the current Centurion facilities to increase production to 25,000 kilograms of cannabis flowers a year from 5,000 kilograms in the immediate term.
This was first reported by Cannabiz Africa in September 2022 when SafriCanna announced its investment and expansion plans following its first export deal in June 2022 when it fulfilled a 500 kilogram offtake agreement for flower for German-based Demecan.
SafriCanna’s Centurion investment will give rise to a host of support services in the area and provide a new cultivation hub. This could make Centurion the cannabis capital of South Africa, never mind Gauteng.
The company says Centurion, Gauteng is optimal for cannabis production because of its high altitude (1 500 m) and more than 280 sunny days a year.
SafriCanna supplies wholesalers with its products, which contain high levels of THC with unique terpene profiles. It plans to increase its 70-strong workforce to over 600 as it expands in order to ensure that its Quality Management System continues to support its EU-GMP Certification. The company expects this number to grow to over 600 in line with expansion as it caters to increased European and global demand.
Haidar is also the founder and CEO of Nigerian telecoms and financial services giant Optasia, which is the majority shareholder in SafriCanna. while other investors are also from the business mainstream. Former MTN CEO Sifiso Dabengwa and Nir Aloni are also shareholders. Dabengwa, currently a non-exec director of Eskom and Gijima Investments, has 25 years of experience in high level business in Africa, while Aloni is a director of Upstream, a tech company that works with Vodacom ad MTN and is the former CEO of Smartrade, an international eCommerce company. Hadier also serves on Amnesty International’s Global Council.
EU-GMP Certification is required by producers of medicinal cannabis outside of the EU who wish to export to countries in the European Union. The certification demonstrates the company’s commitment to the production of high-quality THC medicinal cannabis flowers that follow EU-GMP principles and guidelines.
The company says “EU-GMP Certification is validation of the quality, integrity, and robustness of our production processes and facility. It is also an endorsement in the quality of our growing, technical, and R&D teams. Europe is an immense and growing market, and we intend to become the producer-of-choice of medicinal cannabis within these countries.
“Regulation, such as EU-GMP Certification, is a good thing for the industry. It ensures that standards are being upheld in the industry, and it will provide reassurance to patients that products are safe and of high quality.”