Morgan Stanley, IFC Invest in eleni Commodities Company

Morgan Stanley and the World Bank’s International Finance Corp. will participate in a $5 million investment in eleni LLC, a Nairobi, Kenya-based company that was started by the founder of the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange.

Eleni plans to build commodity exchanges in Africa, Morgan Stanley, the IFC and eleni said in a statement yesterday. Cocoa, cotton, coffee, sorghum and sesame seeds are potential products to start exchanges because Africa grows them all, eleni Chief Executive Officer Eleni Gabre-Madhin said by phone from Davos, Switzerland today. Offices in Dubai and Accra, Ghana are planned, she said.

“What we’re trying to do is improve the domestic supply chains in each of the regions in which we set up an exchange,” Gabre-Madhin said. “If you talk to the big buyers, a lot of them are concerned about reliable sourcing and being assured that farmers are being properly treated.”

Eleni founded the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange in 2008, which now handles 640,000 metric tons of coffee, sesame seeds, white pea beans and corn a year with a total value of $1.4 billion, she said. Coffee farmers in the country now get 65 percent of the final export price, up from 38 percent three years ago, she said.

Gabre-Madhin was born in Ethiopia and is moving to Kenya to start eleni LLC because “it’s a good hub for technological development and innovation,” she said.

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