The managing director and chief executive officer of Sterling Bank, Abubakar Suleiman said the bank will collaborate with key financial institutions to identify and deliver actionable steps that will enable stakeholders in the agricultural value chain to maximise the potential of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.
This will help Africa’s agribusiness industries ensure sustained long term growth, and facilitate sizeable investments to drive increased output across the agribusiness value chain.
He said announced that Sterling Bank Plc has announced it is collaborating with Leadway Assurance, SaroAfrica Limited, GIZ AFC and AFEX Commodities to host the fourth edition of the Agriculture Summit Africa (ASA) 2021 in boosting the agribusiness value chain.
He said the two-day event would focus on facilitating regional trade, under the AfCFTA’s Export Product Standardisation policy, to increase foreign exchange earnings through agribusiness financing, and develop a flexible supply chain system to guard against uncertainty. ASA 2021 would also examine the process of building a resilient food production system as well as the impact of climate change on production output.
Suleiman said discussions will zero in on how to increase the involvement of key stakeholders across public and private sectors in developing policies that would aid the growth of the agribusiness value chain and provide funding under AfCTA.
He added that discussions around framing friendly policies that will enhance seamless regional trade and develop local economy through improved production would also take place.
He asserted that ASA 2021 will also focus on export product standardisation so that exporters can avoid rejection of made in Africa goods as a panacea to unprecedented foreign exchange earnings, while deploying digital solutions for an improved productivity among smallholder farmers, adding that discussions would also hold on understanding the changing regional climate cycles and their impact on productivity.
Also speaking, Group head, Agric & Solid Minerals Finance, Mrs. Bukola Awosanya said, “In the last four years, Sterling Bank has consistently organised the ASA in a bid to provide a platform for stakeholders to deliberate and discuss strategies to increase output and value of the agribusiness sector on the African continent.”
She said the outcomes of previous editions led to the establishment of SABEX, the first fully digitised, end-to-end blockchain commodities trading and financing platform, by Sterling Bank in collaboration with AFEX Commodities Exchange Limited.
According to her, another outcome is the setting up of the Sterling Women and Youths in Agriculture Finance (SWAY AgFin) solution for small to mid-scale agribusiness practitioners, designed in three different languages for farmers in various regions of the country to understand so that they can take advantage of the solution.
She also said, the ASA has led to the establishment of Farmers’ Radio in 2018, with a pilot in three northern states but over time the coverage has now been extended to the six geo-graphical zones in the country.