H.E Alhaji Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, the vice president of the Republic of Ghana, H.E Heather Cameron, the Canadian High Commissioner, H.E Ron Strikker the Netherlands Ambassador, HE Robert Jackson, the US Ambassador, Ms. Rukia Yacoub, the World Food Program Country representative, co-sponsors to this event, media men and women, our eminent farmers, aggregators, stakeholders, ladies and gentlemen.
Good morning, it is indeed a pleasure to address this gathering. Over the last five (5) years Ecobank Ghana has associated itself with the Pre-harvest Agribusiness Conference event by participating in diverse ways. The bank’s continuous sponsorship of the events underpins our belief in the immense opportunities within the Agricultural sector. A belief reinforced by the policy direction of the government dubbed “planting for food and jobs”. Delivering on this agenda means that all stakeholders, government, private sector, civil society, and international organizations, have to work closely together to maximize impact.
At Ecobank, our unique Pan African focus places us in an ideal position to achieve our vision of contributing to the financial integration and economic development of Africa. We cannot achieve this vision or make the desired impact without providing support to you, the drivers of food production and agribusiness. In line with SDG 2, to end hunger, achieve food security,
improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture, Ecobank pledged in 2013 under the “Feed the future” project to ensure food sustainability in Ghana. To this end, the bank committed to invest US$5,000,000 between 2013 and 2020 in the maize, rice, and soybean value chains. It is an undisputable fact that the current level of Bank financing to the agriculture sector can be improved upon, and we at Ecobank see an opportunity to continue to increase access to financing across the entire agricultural value chain. We are indeed happy to submit that Ecobank has invested an additional US$16,000,000 in the Agriculture value chain in less than 5years.
The challenges in investing in the agribusiness remain; low level of understanding of specific crops, geographies, and sometimes-complex
value chains that encompass inputs, production, processing, and retailing. Additionally, many of the relevant investment opportunities are in geographies that are unfamiliar to a number of investors, and their profitability rests not only on crop yields but also on how different parts of the value chain perform. Therefore desired agribusiness expansions within the diverse components of the value chain can only be realized with timely access to finance. We are aware of the need for rapid access to finance, especially for small holder farmers and small scale agribusinesses, and have put in place the mechanism to ensure that we provide financing to farmers, input dealers, traders, processors and agribusiness operators in a timely manner.
Through our digital Solutions, Ecobank offers a way to expand access to the formal financial sector. Indeed, as part of the bank’s financial inclusion agenda Ecobank provides non-customer with the ability to open instant digital account known as the Xpress Account and to start transacting. The Ecobank Mobile App which was launched in November 2016, and with over 1.4 million users provides easy of accessibility to our financial services platform in a seamless manner. This platform, using the Xpress Cash function enables users to send money to anyone with or without a bank account by generating an e-token which can be used by the beneficiary to withdraw cash from any Ecobank ATM nationwide without a card. Beneficiaries can also redeem cash from the over 1,500 Xpress Points nationwide. On the payment side, the Ecobank Pay delivers a payment solution that allows customers to pay for goods and services from their Mobile Phones, whiles, the Ecobank’s T- bill4All, a secured mobile enabled product will allow our farmers to register and purchase Government of Ghana Treasury bills from their phones, from as little as five Ghana Cedi. Allowing so many of our people to take advantage of the rapid growth of digital and mobile telephony to increase income, savings and food security.
We implore our entrepreneurs and farmers to leverage on digital solutions and technology as a means of making their businesses more productive and efficient. l further encourage you to visit the Ecobank stand during this year’s event and engage us on our digital offering which includes; the Ecobank Pay Omni, RlB, POS, Xpress Account, Xpress Cash, Mobile App and men more.
Over the years, we have enjoyed close collaboration with the USAID, ADVANCE, and FlNGAP in facilitating capacity building and access to credit by our clients in the agriculture sector. As stated earlier this year during the Pre-season meeting, we acknowledge the preparatory role, the Ghana Grains Council is playing towards the establishment of a functional commodity exchange. These collaboration and activities are worth nothing and commendable as we all forge towards the realization of a viable agribusiness sector that would transform the socio-economic lives of all Ghanaians.
Once again let me assure you that we at Ecobank believe in the future of agriculture and are committed to supporting the sector and towards deepening its positive contribution to Ghana and the whole of Africa. Thank you.
Ecobank the Pan Africa Bank