Head of Commercial Banking at Stanbic Bank, Abdul-Jaleel Hussein, has advised financial institutions to approach agriculture financing from a partnership perspective for a coordinated effort in driving growth in the sector. Abdul-Jaleel said this at the 2021 Annual Conference of the Ghana Association of Agricultural Economists (GAAE), held in Tamale.
Speaking on the topic ‘Agriculture and Agribusiness Finance in Ghana from a Bank’s Perspective’ Abdul-Jaleel Hussein said: “We have noticed, as a financial institution, the challenges in financing agribusinesses. For us at Stanbic Bank, we approach agriculture financing from a partnership standpoint. Within that sector, there are so many stakeholders and financial institutions needed to partner these stakeholders in order to make any impact.
“Beyond having the proper corporate governance structures in place, the most critical thing is the partnerships among various actors in the value chain; government, financial institutions, insurance companies, development partners and researchers. We all have to come together”.
He further noted that Stanbic Bank’s support for agriculture and agribusinesses in Ghana stems from the bank’s belief that we cannot drive growth of the country without supporting agriculture sector. “Standard Bank, which is the parent company of Stanbic Bank, is the largest bank in Africa and has its purpose as ‘Africa is our home and we drive her growth’. For this reason, agriculture and supporting agricultural systems has been a key part of the bank’s 160-year-old history.
“The major function of a bank is to gather deposits and funds from excess holders and redistribute those funds to other parts of the economy which need support. You can tell the focus of any financial institution by where they redistribute these funds to. At Stanbic Bank, we are very committed to the growth of agriculture and agribusiness in Ghana; and in the past couple of years we have deployed over GH¢5million into the agriculture value chain, and we intend to do more than that in the years to come,” Abdul-Jaleel Hussein said.
“And it’s a way for us to commit to saying that Ghana is our home, we drive her growth. And if you want to drive the growth of Ghana without supporting agriculture, then it begs the question whether we are really interested in the country’s growth. So, there is an absolute commitment from Stanbic Bank in ensuring that we drive the growth of agriculture; and that’s why this platform is keen for us,” he added.
The three-day GAAE Annual Conference was held under the theme ‘Transforming Agriculture through Sustainable Food Systems and Agribusiness’, and brought together over 300 participants drawn from Academia, Industry, Investors, Policymakers, Government Institutions, NGOs, Donor Agencies, Development Partners, Traditional Rulers, Farmers, Students and the general public.