Daily Guide Ghana | Thursday, 02 September 2010
STANDARD BANK Plc has affirmed its commitment to finance agriculture in Africa over a long term.
Clive Tasker, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the bank and Jacques Taylor, its Director of Agriculture Banking, who led a high-powered delegation to Ghana, indicated at a press conference held in Accra yesterday that Stanbic was embarking on the project because Africa has vast stretch of arable lands.
Additionally, Mr Tasker noted that the bank intends to improve food security and eliminate hunger in the world.
Noting that trade balance in Africa was improving with exports equaling imports, he emphasized: “Africa’s agriculture is no longer a donor business. It has high growth prospects since it would turn around the continent’s loss prospects”.
Several African heads of state, industry representatives, international donors and farmers are expected to attend the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) today to create an action plan on the acceleration of a Green Revolution in Africa.
To be chaired by Kofi Annan, chairman of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), the forum - the first in Africa, is expected to focus solely on agriculture development.
Mr Taylor also pointed out that the bank would consider three key issues - infrastructure, macroeconomic stability and currency stabilization as it invests in agriculture in Africa.
Alhassan Andani, Managing Director, Stanbic Ghana noted that only 5.1 percent or GH¢300,000 went into agric financing despite the fact that it contributes about 33 percent to Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He therefore called for institutional policy support and also an improvement in the various farming methods.
He added that Stanbic would increase lending to agriculture and leverage on its brand to encourage innovation.
The AGRF promotes investments and policy initiatives that seek to drive income growth for African farmers in an environmentally sustainable way.
It will unlock Africa’s agricultural potential and facilitate sustainable economic growth as a result of new investments and public-private partnerships.By Charles Nixon Yeboah