Support to KSMS Improves Access to Finance in East Africa's Agricultural Sector
USAID East Africa Regional Director Lawrence Meserve spoke at the September 7th launch of the East Africa Agricultural Finance Network and the formal launch of the Certificate in Agricultural Finance at the Kenya School of Monetary Studies (KSMS) in Nairobi. The event was the culmination of recommendations that came out of the ‘Growing Africa through Finance' forum that was hosted jointly by the KSMS and the USAID/COMPETE in March 2010.
Both initiatives are aimed at increasing dialog and building capacity between the financial sector and the agricultural sector within EAC member countries. The Secretary General of the East African Community, Dr. Richard Sezibera, the Kenya Minister for Agriculture Dr. Sally Kosgei and the Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya, Professor Njuguna Ndung’u also delivered remarks.
The East Africa Agricultural Finance Network (EAAFN) has a 12 member Advisory board drawn from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda. In Kenya, the financial sector is represented by Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) from various institutions including the Kenya Women’s Finance Trust (KWFT), the Kenya Bankers Association (KBA), the Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC), the Kenya Rural Savings and Credit Co-operative Societies Union (KERUSSU) and the African Rural and Agricultural Credit Association (AFRACA). Uganda and Rwanda, are represented by the CEOs of the Uganda Bankers Association and Rwanda Bankers Association respectively, while Tanzania is represented by the CEO of the CRDB Bank. The principal objective of the Network is to serve as a clearing house of technology, joint ventures, public private partnerships, investment and lending opportunities in the East African agricultural industry.
The Certificate in Agricultural Finance or CAF is a three-module programme that targets participants from commercial banks, Micro-finance Institutions (MFIs), Agricultural SACCOs and the Ministries of Trade, Agriculture Livestock and Industry and is intended to equip participants with practical knowledge, skills and attitudes that will enable them to professionally perform agricultural lending related duties. CAF’s objective is to integrate internships and practical projects in its curriculum through a Case Study approach.
The Certificate in Agricultural Finance kicked off in earnest on 12 April 2011 with 37 participants from four East African countries (Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda) who were selected to take part in the first module of the course. The trainees followed up their classroom training with internships at their places of work. Of the 37 participants, 20 were sponsored by USAID/COMPETE and 17 were sponsored from their nominating institutions. It is envisaged that the program will go a long way towards strengthening and streamlining agricultural lending practices in Eastern and Southern Africa.