Grow Africa

Changing economies and livelihoods.


Democratising access to investment opportunities in African agriculture.

2013 - 2015

Matter Of Form were briefed by the World Economic Forum and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) to digitise and automate the Grow Africa initiative, further democratising African’s access to agricultural funding; in support of the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP).

With over 20 different stakeholder typologies, the initiative was highly complex and politically charged, with everyone from rural farmers in Rwanda to the White House wanting to have an input. In an effort to try and satisfy all stakeholders, the Grow Africa proposition had become diluted and difficult to understand. Because of this, the team were struggling to capitalise on opportunities and work together effectively, and as a result, communication and morale were at an all time low.
The Strategy: to change the Landscape.

The project started with a series of requirements gathering workshops at the World Economic Forum headquarters in Geneva; the objective being to align the organization around Grow Africa’s business strategy, purpose and what it stands for. The results of this discussion were then collated and distilled into a 40 page brand toolkit; helping to motivate stakeholders at all levels of the organization and outline the communications architecture by which the brand would communicate: from visual expression to working with partners, messaging systems and tone of voice. The defining thought and purpose that characterised why every person and institution was involved in the project, and why Grow Africa existed, was ‘To Change The Landscape’.

After the brand component, we conducted a thorough user- experience and digital service design process over a matter of weeks; delivering a range of assets - such as user flows and service blueprints - that would inform both the front stage and back stage part of the digital product and service in production.

The production was shared with Accenture Federal in the US: the non-profit, high- security digitally-led subsidiary of the large consultancy group. After working through the product roadmap for 18 months and 7 phases together - this relationship has proven incredibly productive and successful.

The Creative Concept: Adinkra Symbology.

The creation of the Grow Africa brand strategy and expression system was critical to the design ethos used. Therefore, much of the creative approach was dictated at an early stage based on the brand’s core purpose: To Change The Landscape.

After some deliberation the creative teams decided that the creative direction should depict a modernisation of something that is deeply embedded in African culture - and the Adinkra language selected as the most cross-border, multinational symbol of Africa’s landscape that could be used. From this, a more contemporary symbol set was developed - used to highlight the various activity pillars of the Grow Africa initiative - as outlined in the brand architecture.

Through this co-creative approach, the organisation also managed to unlock several opportunities for digital transformation and innovation – resulting in the world’s first NGO produced online agricultural matchmaking community – primarily focused on bringing farm-based investment opportunities from the depths of Africa to the attention of the world’s most powerful firms.