By Honorine Nininahazwe
Agriculture has been regarded as the backbone of the African Continent in terms of economic growth. Each year governments allocate funding to the sector for sustainable development. However, they have struggled to bring about tangible changes in the sector.
Financial experts attribute this to a number of obstacles preventing them from operating profitably in rural areas. The recent „Making Finance Work for Africa“ meeting in Kampala, Uganda from 29 to 30 June highlighted the key issues stopping the continent from harnessing its full agricultural potential.
African leaders and development experts agree that agriculture is vital to the continent’s economic future. But farmers and agri-businesses complain that a lack of access to financial services continues to hinder their growth.
To gain an insight in this matter and discuss solutions, agricultural experts, bankers, farmers and government representatives from around Africa met in Kampala, Uganda on the last two days of June.
Airing grievances and hopes
The conference allowed the various stakeholders to air their grievances and hopes.
The co-chair of the G20 agrifinance committee, Susanne Dorasil, says the open exchange of opinions would help international efforts to „Make Finance Work for Africa“.
Several speakers at the conference said it was high time for policymakers to re-define their approach to agriculture and finance. One of them was Nixon Bugo from the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (Agra), a non-govermental organization that focuses on making financial services available to small-hold farmers in Africa.
Statistics show that more than 50% of Africans are youth that could be productive in the agricultural sector if they had support. Instead these young people have resorted to emmigrating from rural to urban areas in anticipation of a better life. They abandon fertile lands due to what they see as a lack of economic opportunity. Francesca Akello is a Young Ambassador for Rural Development in Africa. She says the big question for policymakers is how to make rural areas a better place for youth in Africa.
The conclusion of the conference noted that without firm institutions and a skilled workforce, even the best policies will have little effect.
Listen to the entire report below:
Watch an interview by Yvonne Msemembo with Ugandan State Minister for Finance Fred Omach:
Watch an interview by Yvonne Msemembo with Fabian Kasi, managing director of Centenary Bank of Uganda:
Watch an interview by Yvonne Msemembo with Susanne Dorasil, German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ):
Watch an interview by Yvonne Msemembo with Christian Königsperger, head of the financial sector development programme of German Development Corporation GIZ in Uganda: