Africa Business Communities

[Interview] Debritu Mogesse Lusteau, Founding Partner, Moyee Coffee, The Netherlands

Debritu Mogesse Lusteau is Ethiopian entrepreneur, founder of The Hague-based company Meskel, and co-founder of Moyee Coffee. She also plays intermediary between the European and the Ethiopian markets, facilitating financing and partnerships where necessary through her many years of operating in both continents.

Debritu is co-host of the Amsterdam Business Networking Event, March 8, 2016. Her interview with Africa Business Communities:

Would you please introduce your companies?

I have the privilege to be involved in some very interesting businesses.

Moyee Coffee is a coffee manufacturing effort in Ethiopia. We prepare and package in Addis Ababa and distribute in The Netherlands from our office based in Amsterdam. Our ambition is to be able to distribute products which will bring to our local partners as much as it will bring to our Dutch shareholders.

I started Meskel in 1994, a company involved in direct import of Ethiopian products in to European Market. Meskel is based in The Hague.

In which industries does your company operate and who are your clients?

I operate generally in the Food & Beverage sector. Moyee Coffee clients are in general corporate clients. The B2B department is doing well. We are now developing the B2C.

Why did you start companies Moyee Coffee and Meskel?

I co-founded Moyee Coffee to bring balance in the coffee value chain without compromising on quality.

For Meskel, the motivation was somewhat different. In the 90s it was very difficult to find Ethiopian products in Europe. I started then to trade. My moto was and still is “Direct from Ethiopia”. Someone had to fulfill this need in the market.

What did you do before starting your companies?

My background is not business. I worked for UN organizations back in Addis Ababa and later on in Paris.

When I came in the Netherlands with my husband in 1987, I took a break from work to dedicate time to my family. In 1994, with my kids now old enough to be in school, I started Meskel.

What can budding entrepreneurs do to realize their ideas?

Being an entrepreneur is not a function, it is a state of mind.

What is missing I believe is a platform where people can act together. I meet and talk to people who would like to do very interesting things, and they intend to do them alone. There are ways to realize projects successfully. For example, at Moyee we are 15 investors. In the past I tried to start my own company, Meleya Coffee, in partnership with another individual. When we ran out of resources we ground to a halt. Some businesses require several people with different expertise and more finance. People, financers, banks will trust a group more than they would a sole individual.

What can you say about the targets, plans and ambitions of your companies in 2016?

I expect Moyee to keep seeing the growth it’s been experiencing thus far. Rift Valley will expand distribution into the Scandinavian countries.

Meskel will launch a new spice brand: Million Spices

Given your experience, how would you assess the growth in Ethiopia over the years?

I have been active in Europe and Africa for the last 30 years. The most noticeable changes have taken place during the last 10 years. I travel five to six times a year to Ethiopia; the changes are everywhere - in Infrastructure, real estate, manufacturing and the service sector. This is also evident in the day to day needs; products that were imported a few years ago are now locally produced.

Which African countries do you predict will perform best in 2016?

Ivory Cost and the Democratic Republic of Congo have been mentioned several times for their strong economic performances.

Ethiopia is ranked number 3 for 2016 Estimation GDP growth globally and number 1 in Africa. For the last decade GDP stayed between 11.8 % and 8.2 %. I can testify to Ethiopia’s development because I’m there several times a year and see the changes for myself. It is truly amazing.




Africa Business Communities Networking Event 

Tuesday 8 March 2016

5:00 - 7:00 PM 
Amstel Hotel | Amsterdam | The Netherlands

After great editions in HamburgLagos and Accra the Africa Business Communities Networking Event is returning to Amsterdam!



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