Charles Gitau

Country Director, Africa Agribusiness Academy

Charles Gitau is a seasoned professional with a rich background in agricultural development and entrepreneurship. Over his 12-year tenure at East Africa Breweries, he specialized in coordinating barley research and extension efforts, focusing on improving beer quality through agronomic and breeding trials. In 2010, Charles co-founded the Africa Agribusiness Academy (AAA), an entrepreneur network dedicated to fostering innovation and growth for small and medium agrifood firms in Africa. Serving as the Country Director for Kenya and International Vice-Chairman, he has played a pivotal role in expanding AAA's network to encompass 20 active business clubs with over 510 members across six countries. Charles has been a driving force in agricultural value chain development, contributing to capacity building, coaching, mentorship, and the promotion of inclusive business models. His extensive experience includes involvement in projects supported by various national and international agencies, addressing issues ranging from rural income improvement to food security. Notably, he co-founded the "Stitching Africa Agribusiness Academy Fund (SAAAF)" to provide immediate financial support to AAA SMEs affected by the disruptions caused by Covid-19.

Charles has also been instrumental in implementing projects focusing on climate change resilience and sustainable food systems, such as the Youth in Agroecology and Business Learning Track Africa (YALTA) and the ongoing "PrAEctiCe" project, exploring agroecology practices in East Africa. Holding two MBA degrees in Marketing and Management Science from Egerton University, specializing in smallholders and agro-based SMEs, Charles is a key consultant at AAA, representing agro-based SMEs in policy dialogues and participating in initiatives like the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) under the Africa Union. His current projects include coordinating an EC-funded initiative facilitating African Smallholder Farmers in agroecology transition and the "Beyond Farming Collective" project supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, aiming to establish a network for Inclusive Agricultural Transformation in Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Nigeria. Charles Gitau's diverse skill set spans agrotourism, business case development in water and land management, branding of agri-based products, and the management of "Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES)."