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Revolutionizing agricultural financing in ACP Countries

Posted by Betty Tole Friday, July 11, 2014

A game changing conference attracting over 600 delegates including farmers, farmer organizations, traders, bankers, financial institutions, governments, and government agencies, from the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries are meeting in Nairobi, Kenya from 14 to 18 July 2014 to discuss ways of developing a modern and high-performing agricultural financing system that will enable agriculture serve the increasing demands of the urban and global markets. The President of Kenya, His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta is scheduled to officially open the conference.  Several African Agriculture and Finance Ministers, as well as Central Bank Governors are also expected to attend.

The meeting is organized by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA), the African Rural and Agricultural Credit Association (AFRACA), the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) and the Kenya School of Monetary Studies (KSMS). Other international organizations, including IFAD, are sponsoring the event.

The Fin4Ag conference will provide a platform for participants to learn about the various tools and initiatives that facilitate successful smallholder-inclusive agri-value chain finance. The conference will focus on the existing working models of agri-value chain finance that enhance food security as well as job, and wealth creation, along with the policy frameworks that support these initiatives.  Central Bank governors will share on what they can do to create an enabling environment for such agricultural financing.  

The conference will also showcase a range of new developments in ICT that aid access to secure financial transactions.  Sixteen digital platforms have confirmed participation on Plug and Play Day, or Day Zero of the conference on 14 July 2014. The event will demonstrate technologies supporting access to credit, payments, savings, and insurance and risk management for value chain actors.  For ICT innovators, this will be a unique opportunity to gain a broader perspective of finance ICTs, while users will have a chance to discover the latest ICT platforms for value chain finance available in the market.

The Plug and Play Day is organized as a precursor to the main conference. The opening ceremony will take place on 15 July 2014.  Various sessions have been organized from the 15 – 17 July 2014, with field trips planned on the last day of the conference to different areas where examples of transformation in agricultural finance will be showcased.

AFRACA, a grant recipient of several IFAD grants, and co-organizer of the conference, will host two sessions: one discussing the issues, and ways of enhancing financing of intra-African food trade, and the second one on strategies for financing agricultural mechanization. The Nairobi-based IFAD Regional Grant, Rural Finance Knowledge Management Partnership (KMP), that has also been extensively involved in the organization of the conference, will also host two sessions: Capacity building: what is missing in agri-value chain finance training and how to fill the gaps; and Information, communication and knowledge management in value chain financing: lessons learnt. In addition KMP organized the documentation of all the field visits that complement the plenary discussions for the delegates attending the conference.

Also participating in the conference is a vibrant group of on-site social reporters drawn from across Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific regions who will be updating social sites on the happenings in the conference. To follow conference proceedings, the website is http://fin4ag.org. For Twitter users, use #Fin4Ag14.