Facilitating knowledge exchange on Agrifinance between Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East and North Africa
Luxembourg, 29 March, 2022 – The SANAD Fund for MSME’s Technical Assistance Facility (SANAD TAF) hosted a webinar facilitating a knowledge exchange between 15 partner financial institutions engaged in agrifinance in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and sub-Saharan Africa. The purpose was to discuss new ideas, lessons learned, and possible ways to expand agricultural lending in both regions.
As a developing marketplace with a motivated and youthful population, sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has much to offer in terms of fintech and innovations for financial inclusion. The use of data, as well as remarkable achievements in digitizing payments, processes, and credit decisions have improved outreach and efficiency of agrifinance in Sub-Saharan Africa. While the region has become a global leader in agrifinance, development in this area in the MENA region continues to lag. The webinar, therefore, sought to facilitate a knowledge exchange between the regions so that financial institutions in the MENA region can benefit from the lessons learned by their counterparts in sub-Saharan Africa.
The webinar featured a keynote presentation from Tim Strong, Head of Agricultural Finance for Opportunity International, and panel discussions with top regional agrifinance experts. The webinar discussed challenges and opportunities in agrifinance, emerging trends and market applications, and explored case studies from sub-Saharan Africa.
Kim Reichel, Chairperson of the SANAD Technical Assistance Facility, said: “Fostering knowledge exchange is a key to development, and this webinar was just one example of how the SANAD Fund and SANAD TAF can successfully harness the knowledge and experiences in one region, in this case sub-Saharan Africa, and implement best practices in another, the Middle East and North Africa. The agricultural sector in particular has numerous opportunities for all stakeholders in the value chain, but access to finance is a vital part in the sector’s development. By enabling knowledge-exchange between financial institutions, we believe we can contribute to economic growth and increased employment opportunities in both regions.”
The SANAD Fund for MSME finances micro, small, and medium enterprises and low-income households in the Middle East and North Africa and selected countries in sub-Saharan Africa via qualified local lenders. SANAD thereby fosters economic development and job creation – including youth employment – agriculture, affordable housing, and innovations in finance and financial technologies. SANAD strives to meet these goals by providing debt and equity financing to its local partners. The SANAD Technical Assistance Facility multiplies the fund’s development impact and outreach through capacity-building with partner institutions, developing financial infrastructures according to the principles of responsible finance and conducting much required R&D.
An impact investment fund advised by Finance in Motion, SANAD’s investors include the KfW Development Bank, which initiated the fund; the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ); the European Union; Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO); OeEB, the Development Bank of Austria; Germany’s GLS Bank and GLS Treuhand; the Dutch development bank FMO; and Calvert Impact Capital.
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