Tommaso Menini: The fetcher of oil from arid lands

Tommaso Menini saw through very dry grounds and is now busy fetching oil from where few or nobody thought wealth could be made from.

The tall looking gentleman is an ambitious conservationist who began work on arid lands about a decade ago in Karamoja-Uganda for economic development in Africa.

The unstoppable dreamer continued in Kenya expanding business from beekeeping, to resins, gum, and aloe.

Tommaso Menini is the Founder and the Chief Executive Officer of African Agency for Arid Resources Limited, simply called Agar. Agar was founded for one sole purpose, to support and  empower pastoralist communities in the East African ASAL, brilliantly utilizing natural forest resources for sustainable development. 

It became a platform that also provided people professional and technical advice on selected value chains for better advantage in the market.

His works have greatly been meaningful and helpful in the African communities as he uses drought resistant crops to bring degraded lands back to life.

But has he always been a success all through? 

Talking about success and failure, Menini has these to say:

“I went into a business in the arid and semi-arid lands (ASAL) sector. Within two months of operation, my Kenyan business partner started misappropriating funds.


It nearly cost me all the capital we had injected. But we rolled our sleeves, found new ways to handle our operating capital and survived the fall. This taught me that despite the referrals and assurances of trust, when it comes to money, you can only trust yourself.

In my current firm, I have now put in place procedures and controlling tools where funds are always in control and accounted for, and under my direct supervision.

“Passion is the backbone of my life and my work and if you don’t have passion in what you do, which leads into determination, sheer will, focus and vision, then you are doing the wrong thing.

For example, my area of work revolves around areas where security can be volatile, infrastructures non-existent and within a sector which is completely unregulated.

If you come in without a strong drive to carry on, succeed and translate your success into the benefits of the most vulnerable and remote communities, well, you won’t get anywhere.

I got where I am because of my determination but that has also led to a lot more grey hair over the last few years!

“Success has its ingredients. Preparation, integrity, honesty, a healthy drive for competition, and building and leading your team from the front. I also believe that in order to win big, you must be ready to risk big.

Unfortunately, my previous business partner embodied what I believe some Kenyans get wrong: a short-cut culture, preferring to focus on quick gains through questionable practices instead of working hard and following business principles for longer run.”

By Elijah Christopher

Elijah Christopher
Elijah Christopher is a journalist at A New Touch Of Africa, is also a creative writer, a poet, and an IT enthusiast. He contributed to the collaborative poem written in celebration of Edwin Morgan Centenary, the first Glasgow poet laureate and Scottish national poet from the University of Glasgow. He loves meeting people and learning about new places, cultures, events, and lifestyles.

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