on the ground

 

We have lived and run businesses across sub-Saharan Africa since 2010.

Our first venture was to design, build and operate commercial-scale fruit processing in the Republic of Malawi, the first of its kind in the country. From an initial programme, purchasing mangoes from smallholders, we built an end-to-end system of farming and processing. With 426 ha of arable land and an 11,600 sq m fruit processing facility, the business employed 700 local people and supported over 5,000 smallholder families.

It met the highest food safety standards in the United States, United Kingdom and EU and achieved some of the best audit results of any farm in the World, under the tough Rainforest Alliance certification scheme. Within four years, the business was supplying product to the largest beverage companies in the region and the World.

Core to our operating model was investment in education, nutrition, and community life, building a deep relationship with our supply chain and future proofing the sustainability of our business.

Building on our successes (and failures) in the Developing World, we have created Longevity, advising, building, investing in and operating food, water and energy trailblazers across sub-Saharan Africa.

 
 
Jonny Jacobs Headshot

Jonny Jacobs

Co-founder

Following more than a decade advising investors on international transactions, Jonny then spent more than eight years building business in one of the world's most challenging business environments. He is now entrenched on the ground in sub-Saharan Africa. Over his twenty year working life, he has developed a wide and deep network of professional relationships across the private and public sector financing space, particularly within the context of developing economies and emerging markets.

Passionate about youth leadership and the role young people play in the creation of progressive enterprise, he is a regular speaker at global and regional policy forums and writer/media commentator on land tenure, investment protocols, risk management and on the relationship between donors, governments, the investment community and the broader private sector.

Craig Hardie Headshot.jpg

Craig Hardie

Co-founder

Craig has over 20 years-experience in strategic marketing, product management and new product development, delivering multiple major new product initiatives within FTSE 100 companies across both B2B and B2C markets. He has been applying this knowledge for over 10 years whilst living and
operating in Sub-Saharan Africa. During this time he has developed from scratch a small profit making social enterprise, and created Malawi’s first ever commercial-scale multi-million dollar vertically integrated, inclusive fruit processing business. In doing so, he has developed a deep understanding of the challenges and risks associated with both private enterprise and public-sector programmes in the region.

Passionate about combining commercial success and development, he is driven by a desire to use his expansive knowledge and experience to help responsible, inclusive enterprises, and donor programmes avoid the many pitfalls associated with this region. By doing so, he believes Longevity Development can play a key role in helping them deliver against the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and enhance their success.