Webinar: On the Ground; Lessons and Insights from African Cannabis Operators

On behalf of Global Go and ACA Group, we invite you to join us for our Global Go Africa Connect webinar, “On the Ground; Lessons and Insights from African Cannabis Operators” on Tuesday, 12/08 at 9 – 10:30 am PST; 7 – 8:30 pm SAST.

The Africa cannabis industry has made great strides over the last few years, now beginning to slowly integrate into the global cannabis ecosystem. Lesotho and South African cannabis operators have led the way. Despite capital, operational, economic and regulatory challenges, many of these pioneering businesses are now operational and beginning to take shape.

With a growing number of corporates, entrepreneurs, investors and institutions looking to enter the market, the need to better understand the process of commercialization has never been greater. Our webinar brings together leading cannabis entrepreneurs and unpacks their experiences in founding cannabis businesses in Africa. Our panel shares insights gained from the often long, capital intensive and complicated process of entering the cannabis industry. The panel will also discuss some of the most valuable lessons they’ve learnt in raising capital, finding talent, adhering to compliance, developing brands, and exporting products both locally and internationally.

Webinar Participants

Host, Paul Rosen, Executive Chairman, Global Go

Rosen is an early pioneer in the globalized cannabis industry, having been a co-founder of PharmaCan Capital Corp (now Cronos Group) and served as its first CEO and President. Under Rosen’s leadership, PharmaCan/Cronos Group acquired ownership interests in a number of the initial cannabis licenses awarded in Canada and was the 3rd cannabis company to go public in Canada. Rosen sat on the board of iAnthus Capital Holdings, a multistate operator of cannabis assets in the United States and has advised and/or invested in more than 150 companies in the cannabis industry.

Keynote, Paul-Michael Kiechel, Schindlers Attorneys, Partner

Paul-Michael commenced articles of clerkship with Schindlers in 2010 and has been an admitted attorney with Schindlers since 2013. He specializes in commercial and general litigation, has argued opposed High Court motions, is extensively experienced in arbitrations and alternative dispute resolution. Recently, he spearheaded a Constitutional challenge against the laws prohibiting cannabis (marijuana/dagga) use and possession in South Africa and presently assists in drafting license applications to the Department of Health and Medicines Control Council for the growing of cannabis for medicinal purposes.

Moderator, Jeff Verlinden, Sales Executive, Separations

Jeff Verlinden is a Sales Executive at Separations, where Separations has been in the South African laboratory and pharmaceutical equipment supply and support space for the last 3 decades. Jeff is a Biochemist and joined Separations in 2010 working in their pharmaceutical support division having worked with the majority of pharmaceutical clients in South Africa and into Africa.

Jeff has a passion for cannabis extraction and formulation workflows along with all necessary testing analytics; to ensure the highest quality product ends up in the hands of consumers at all levels of use.

Guest Speaker, Thobile Disemelo, Researcher, Social Surveys Institute

Thobile Disemelo studied Communication Sciences with Unisa and has more than 10 years experience of working within the social development space. She is currently working in social research with a particular focus in conflict resolution and social cohesion within mining communities.

Thobile is passionate about cannabis and the discourse around cannabis and indigenous communities of practice and the creation of an active and inclusive cannabis economy within South Africa. She is the lead researcher on the National Cannabis Survey at Social Surveys Africa.

Panelist, Philasande Mahlakata, Project Co-ordinator, Umzimvubu Farmer’s Support Network

Phila is currently project co-ordinator at Umzimvubu Farmer’s Support Network, an organisation focused on providing support to rural farmers in the Umzimvubu region in the Eastern Cape. She works closely with farmers, providing education, networks and strategic guidance to rural agricultural communities in the region.

Phila is also the chairperson of Mfaz’onengxolo Cultural hub, an essential oils and natural cosmetics initiative. uMfaz’onengxolo Cultural Hub has developed a network of growers, sourcing a broad range of essential oil producing plants for processing. Final products from the initiative are targetted at the export market.

Phila also services as a member of the Eastern Cape Provincial Cannabis Steering Committee, assisting in providing insights related to indiginous farmers and regulation. The Provincial Steering Committee was initiated by the MEC of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform at the 1st ever cannabis summit in August 2019, for the purposes of advising government on how to build out the cannabis industry.

Panelist, Sibusiso Xaba, CFA, CEO of Global Go Africa. Co-Founder, CEO of ACA Group

Sibusiso Xaba has extensive experience with financial matters across Africa.  He specializes in capital markets, deal structuring, syndication, venture capital fundraising, hedging solutions and portfolio management.  Sibusiso has worked with African governments, sovereign wealth funds, central banks, pension funds, insurers, and asset managers.  He has closed transactions worth over $5 billion.  He is a Chartered Financial Analyst.

Prior to Global Go Africa, Sibusiso worked as a banker at Goldman Sachs and Investec in London for over 8 years. Sibusiso holds a Business Science Degree from the University of Cape Town.  He is an Allan Gray Entrepreneurship Fellow.

Panelist, Tony Budden, Founder, Hemporium. Strategic and Government Relations Director, Highlands Investments

Tony Budden is a founding partner at Hemporium, South Africa’s premier hemp company. Hemporium has been pioneering the use of industrial cannabis products since 1996 and built Africa’s first Hemp House, which is a recognized WDC 2014 project, and are instrumental in launching this revolutionary new construction material in South Africa. Tony is a globally recognized industrial Cannabis expert having presented multiple keynote addresses on Cannabis cultivation, processing, marketing and futures at International symposiums on Cannabis. With the number of uses for this plant increasing constantly, Tony’s knowledge is highly valued globally. He is involved in South Africa and Malawi’s Hemp Research Trials, growing industrial Cannabis under license and moving towards a legitimate hemp industry so that Africa can take advantage of all the jobs, houses, medicine and nutrition it would create. He is passionate about raising environmental issue awareness, and hopes to play a part implementing in the changes necessary to correct the ecological balance of our planet.

Panelist, Dr Murunwa Makwarela, Meluti Green Med

Dr Makwarela is a Genetic engineer registered as a Professional Natural Scientist with the South African Council of Natural Scientists. Dr Makwarela’s educational background involved genetic engineering of plants ranging from medicinal, forestry to food crops. His career started as an academic and researcher in cassava genetic engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand. He lectured and supervised both undergrad and post grad students in the field of Plant Genetic Engineering. He has applied knowledge and experience in high-level research and publication in transformation technologies of cassava plant tissues (cells and embryos) using Agrobacterium tumefaciens and a particle gun.

Dr Makwarela proceeded to head the Gene bank division at the Agricultural Research Council, leading a team of scientists responsible for the conservation and maintenance of all South African vegetables and ornamentals genetic resources.  The gene bank employed both  in situ and ex situ techniques that included tissue culture and cryopreservation of tissues and embryos to maintain and conserve various genetic resources.Dr Makwarela also worked in government as the HOD for Agriculture and Environment Management at the City of Tshwane, the capital city of South Africa. Dr Makwarela was later employed as the CEO of TAHAL South Africa, a subsidiary of TAHAL Group, which is a top water, wastewater and agriculture civil engineering multinational company based in Israel.

Dr Makwarela started his entrepreneurial interests as an agricultural and environmental consultant in both private and government space. His experience includes developing national and regional water, wastewater masterplans and agricultural integrated development plans including waste management and maintenance of wastewater treatment plants. Dr Makwarela also serves in many private and state-owned entities as non-executive director in his capacity as committees and board chairperson.

About Global Go  
Global Go provides sophisticated consulting services to the global cannabis and hemp industry.  In tandem with strategic allies around the world, Global Go serves clients throughout the world from offices in Bogota, Chicago, Johannesburg, London, Los Angeles, Mexico City, New York, Nicosia, Palm Springs, Phoenix, São Paulo, Silicon Valley, Toronto, and Zurich. Powered by a team of cannabis industry pioneers and world-class consultants, Global Go helps leading cannabis funds and companies assess and enter new markets; acquire assets; raise capital; launch new product lines; improve SOPs; comply with regulations; implement technology and security systems; find talent; diagnose and execute solutions to growth obstacles; and apply for cannabis licenses (with a 99% success rate on over 150 cannabis license applications across the United States).  Learn more at https://globalgo.consulting.

Check out our previous Global Go and ACA Group collaborative webinar here.