Before the official start of the Fund’s learning and networking event held in Accra, Ghana, participants had a brief but welcome opportunity to meet Reeta Roy, President and CEO of Mastercard Foundation. During the early morning breakfast session, Reeta met participants individually, and heard about their journey in driving financial access in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Reeta Roy interacting with Ada Brandolani, Project Manager, Prosema, a company working in the sesame value chain in Mali.
Boniface Muthusi, Chief Credit and Risk Officer, Juhudi Kilimo introducing his project to Reeta Roy.
The early morning session was kicked off by Milton Lore, the Fund Team Leader, who then introduced Smita Sanghrajka, the Fund’s Engagement Partner at KPMG International Development Advisory Services Limited. Smita discussed the progress the Fund had made so far through its 38 participants working in 15 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Smita noted that the Fund has already surpassed the Fund’s target of reaching over one million people on the continent with better financial access as the journey towards transforming livelihoods continues.
Boniface Muthusi, Chief Credit and Risk Officer, Juhudi Kilimo introducing his project to Reeta Roy, President and CEO of Mastercard Foundation.
Smita emphasized the need to build momentum in sharing the Fund learnings and insights so that more milestones can be achieved in delivering financial inclusivity and in job creation across Sub-Saharan Africa. She then welcomed Reeta Roy to speak.
Reeta Roy used the time available to thank the participants for their work so far, and noted that since the Fund began, its primary focus was on smallholder farmer. She noted that the Fund had clearly taken on a life and a momentum of its own in terms of the results, the learnings and the community that is being established.
“In so many ways, you are at the forefront of the transformation of what needs to happen in the agriculture sector, and what needs to happen to benefit lives of communities and lives of smallholder farmers. More than anything else, we have been privileged to accompany you and support many of your ideas”, Reeta Roy, President and CEO, Mastercard Foundation.
Reeta went on to seek views on three key questions she posed to Fund participants:
Anne Maina, Founder and CEO, Inuka Africa, responding to Reeta Roy’s question about engaging more youth entrepreneurs into the agricultural sector.
Anne Maina, Founder and CEO, Inuka Africa responded to Reeta’s question on bringing more youth entrepreneurs on board, by stating that we need to address different parts of the value chain, particularly youth ownership of assets such as land and dairy cows.
This was supported by Grant Brooke, Executive Director, Twiga Foods who spoke about the need for institutions and the sector as a whole to improve education and training to produce enough farm management talent. Ann Maftei, Learning Manager, Rural and Agricultural Finance Learning Lab responded to the question on the opportunities for job creation in the agricultural sector by noting that significant job creation is dependent on governments prioritising and taking pathways focused on investing and improving primary production or moving to value added services if real job creation pathways are to be opened up.
This was supported by Tim Hobden, Monitoring and Evaluation Manager, IPE Tripleline, who noted that learnings from the Fund indicate that apart from developing the resilience of smallholder farmers which leads to some formal and informal job creation, there are opportunities in supporting sectors and in supply chain development – input supply, extension services, transport and logistics, packaging, retailing and so on.
The final question on building a more resilient agricultural sector, particularly in the wake of climate change was responded to by Alexandre Coster, Founder and CEO, Baobab+ Mali.
Alexandre Coster, Founder and CEO, Baobab+ Mali speaking on what it will take to develop resilience in communities.
Alexandre responded by saying we need to develop 3 key aspects in rural areas to build resilience – energy, connectivity and mobility, all of which flexible financing and payment models support.
In addition, Eric Silverman, Founder of Easy Solar, noted that ensuring products provide aspects such as insurance alongside their flexible payment plans and models can go a long way to improving resilience.
Aloysius Attah, CEO and Co-Founder Farmerline, giving his views from a Ghanaian perspective.
Aloysius Attah, CEO and Co-Founder of Farmerline, also contributed to the questions posed around enabling youth, by prompting those present to learn from examples in the private sector like Coca-Cola and Indomie, who have managed to penetrate deep into rural communities in Ghana, and to translate those learnings into agriculture. Fundamentally, he noted that agriculture needs to be made attractive for youth to stay and work in rural areas and there is a need to show them a path to wealth creation.
Milton Lore, Fund Team Leader, spoke to the fact that the solutions remain difficult, and for the need of all present to continue on the journey of education and knowledge sharing.
‘He or she who does not know can know from learning’, Adinkra symbol.
Reeta Roy rounded off her engagement by noting that participants and team members had provided great insight that she would take into meetings and discussions moving forward. She thanked participants present, particularly for their innovative contribution towards delivering financial inclusion in Sub-Saharan Africa, and promised them continued support from the Foundation on their project journeys. She emphasized that as the Fund and its projects continue, everyone has a role to play in building a world that is equitable.
The session closed out with Kerry Hamilton, Consultant from Nathan Associates giving a brief vote of thanks to Reeta Roy for her presence and inspiration. She also thanked the organisers and everyone involved in planning the session and wider participant event.
Fund Communications @2019