The meeting was organised by the African Rural and Agricultural Credit Association (AFRACA) in partnership with the Rwanda Development Bank (BRD), the Ministry of Agriculture, and Access to Finance Rwanda.
Officially opening the conference, Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources, Dr Gerardine Mukeshimana, noted that African Union’s Vision of “an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in global arena” will not be achieved without unprecedented socio-economic development, which is heavily dependent on the transformation of Africa’s agriculture from subsistence to an innovation driven, market oriented sector which can drive the transformational growth of the economy.
“Efforts must be directed at fostering local private sector growth across the continent to foster private sector-led agricultural transformation,” the Minister told participants. “In order to do so we must address the critical constraint of financing for agricultural value chains. The role of governments, private sector both domestic and international investors, and commercial lenders will be essential for meeting these financing needs.”She pointed out that the Government of Rwanda has been implementing a set of reforms to enable Rwanda to evolve from subsistence agriculture and food insecurity towards market-oriented agriculture.
“Efforts are concentrated, among other things, on value chain development and initiatives to attract private investment and add premium to productivity increases, support the growth of agro-processing and value addition,” she said, adding that one of the priorities defined in the third generation of the Strategic Plan for the Transformation of Agriculture (PSTA III) calls for increased involvement of the private sector to leverage existing public sector efforts and address the agriculture sector investment requirements.
“If properly utilized, private sector investments have the potential to drive the inclusive development of the country,” the Minister pointed out.Minister Mukeshimana added that the Government of Rwanda is currently working with the African Development Bank on establishing an Agriculture Risk Sharing and Financing Mechanism to encourage commercial banks and other financial institutions to lend at scale to agricultural value chains.
Participants shared knowledge and experiences on successful best practices in agriculture finance; recommended scalable and replicable models in agricultural finance to member institutions and other stakeholders; and most importantly the participants helped countries to customize such practices and effectively implement them.
This conference, received support from the EU-Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Cooperation (CTA) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and aimed to bring together international, regional, local experts and practitioners in rural and agricultural finance to share their best practices and experiences.
The conference was divided into three main sessions, namely:
- State of Rural and Agricultural Finance including Best Practices and recent innovations in the sector;
- Policy Perspectives on scalable and replicable models in Rural and Agricultural Finance; and
- Perspectives from other Stakeholders and Interest Groups on Best Practices in Rural and Agricultural Finance.
Nigerian Agri-Finance Confrence, 11th - 13th April, 2016