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Susan Payne, AAC Board Member and Co-Founder of Award-Winning Sustainable Planet


Susan Payne, a board member of the African Agriculture Council (AAC), has been making waves not just for her role in the AAC but also as the co-founder, alongside Sven Kaufmann, of the acclaimed Sustainable Planet. This innovative company has recently garnered a series of prestigious awards, underscoring its commitment to revolutionizing the Agri Tech landscape.

With a career that spans three decades in finance and project management, Payne has been at the forefront of emerging markets since being one of the founding members of the original JP Morgan emerging markets trading desk over 30 years ago. She continues to leverage her extensive experience in investment banking, hedge funds and start-ups to make a tangible impact on food security and climate initiatives. Her work, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, has transformed large-scale food and land projects from nascent beginnings into productive and sustainable ventures.

Sustainable Planet’s milestones in 2023 have been varied and impactful, with recognition by several esteemed institutions being a testament to its pioneering work in the agricultural sector.

The accolades include:

  • The United Nations World Food Forum Prize for Innovation: Better Nutrition, a prestigious award that saw Sustainable Planet emerge victorious from a competitive field of over 400 companies.

  • Top Agri Tech Company in Southern Africa and Top 5 All Africa, as part of the GIIG African Start-Up of the Year awards, which drew participation from 8,200 companies.

  • The Global Food Tech Challenge Award, presented to Sustainable Planet by the UAE Minister of the Environment during Sustainability Week in Abu Dhabi, with the company selected out of 667 contenders from 80 countries.

  • Selection for the Hub71 Accelerator in Abu Dhabi, where Sustainable Planet was one of only 22 companies chosen from a total of 1,600.

  • Invitation to join the Microsoft GrowthX Accelerator Program COP Edition, where Sustainable Planet will present at COP 28, one of 10 companies selected from over 400.

  • Listed by Fortune 500 among the Top 500 Agri Tech companies globally.

These awards not only highlight Sustainable Planet's innovative approach to agriculture and technology, involving subsistence farmers producing plant protein and its products at scale, but also Payne's dedication to addressing global challenges involving food security, climate mitigation and agricultural regeneration. It is a fine example of where technology and agriculture can go hand in hand in solving some of the world's most pressing issues.

Susan’s dual role as a member of the AAC, the co-founder of an award-winning company and co-owner/ operator of large commercial farms in southern Africa places her at a unique vantage point to both understand and influence policy and practice in the agricultural sector. As Sustainable Planet continues to gather accolades and gain traction across the regions where it operates, it stands as a game-changer and benchmark of innovation and sustainability in the Agri Tech industry. Susan will be speaking at the African Agri Investment Indaba (


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