Before the rest of the world discovered cannabis for medical and other reasons, this plant has been known in some parts of Africa as traditional herbal medicine. Our ancestors knew of the benefits of cannabis as medical plant.
The legal cannabis market is booming globally and is estimated to be worth over 270 billion. This is a lucrative market and opportunity for African nations to expand their economies and generate money. The African continent provides warm climates and rich soil to grow cannabis which makes the continent eligible for cultivation.
Even though Africa is the biggest cannabis producer, the market has not fully reached its potential compared to competitors in developed countries. The lack of energy and groundwater prevent cannabis producers to sustain the plant. It also does not help that in most African countries cannabis is still not legal.
Countries like South Africa, Lesotho and Zimbabwe meet requirements to compete with big producers outside of Africa. They benefit from the “legal and regulatory groundwork for the sale, transport, manufacture, processing and export of a range of marijuana products.”
Leading the way is Lesotho that became the first country to legalise and export medical cannabis in 2017. The same year, several US and Canadian firms established business mergers with Lesotho’s Medi Kingdom, Africa’s first and largest medical cannabis producer.
For the cannabis market to reach its potential, African nations providing medical cannabis need to set up the infrastructure and opportunities for local markets to participate. Research the market and collect data, develop the framework for cannabis producers and improve the transport to supply nations. Long term success can only occur when producers not only own the facilities but also the data, the supply chain and the brand.
Source: African Business Magazine