Investors in the company include former MTN CEO Sifiso Dabengwa and Nigerian entrepreneur Bassim Haidar who have bold plans to boost capacity five-fold to meet rising international demand.
Safricanna pulled off its first export deals in June 2022 with an 500 kg offtake agreement or flower for German-based Demecan. It plans to invest US$40 million to ramp up production five-fold at its Centurian facility within the next two years.
SafriCanna was awarded a GMP license by SAHPRA earlier this year and will be acquiring adjoining land in order to increase output from the current five tons to 25 tons by 2024! That’s according to Bassim Haidar, CEO of Nigerian investment company Optasia, the majority shareholder in SafriCanna.
He told Bloomberg News on 11 September 2022 that SafriCanna had offtake agreements with Germany and Australia for the bulk of the production and that next year’s crop has already been sold.
According to the company’s website , the facility has the capacity to vegetate and flower simultaneously. It is growing multiple varietals and will begin cloning from earlier crops. It says the Greenhouse/flowering space will be occupied by 18 600 plants all year round, with 4 600 plants harvested every two weeks.
Haidar, a 51 year old Nigerian entrepreneur, who has made a fortune in telecom financial services, told Bloombergs that SafriCanna is among a handful of African companies to have met the European Union’s strict good-manufacturing-practice standards, allowing it to export cannabis flowers as an active pharmaceutical ingredient to Europe. He said he chose to invest in South Africa’s cannabis industry because of its infrastructure, cheap land and good climate.
His fellow investors are also high-calibre players from the tech and communications world. Former MTN CEO Sifiso Dabengwa and Nir Aloni are also shareholders in SafriCanna. 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.
The company says “The overseas medicinal cannabis marketplace serves as a perfect point of departure for SafriCanna due to the fact that the market is developed and going from strength-to-strength.
“South Africa is home to some of the ﬁnest cannabis in the world. Our climate and growing methods enable us to produce products that could compete in any marketplace worldwide. Inﬁltrating the international cannabis landscape forms part of a bigger strategy that will then see SafriCanna diversifying its offering and catering to a broader consumer base.
“SafriCanna is pioneering the shift towards a future where South African medicinal cannabis is recognised in every corner of the globe.”