By Deji Abdulwahab
Abuja, Sept. 3, 2020 Sterling Bank Plc says the 2020 Agriculture Summit Africa (ASA) is aimed at identifying and delivering actionable steps to revolutionise Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa’s agribusiness industries.
The bank made this known in a statement on Thursday in Abuja, on the summit scheduled for Sept. 23 to Sept. 24, with the theme: “Fast Forward Agriculture: Exploiting The Next Revolution’’.
Mr Yemi Odubiyi, Executive Director, Corporate and Investment Banking for the bank, was quoted as saying that this year’s edition would be a hybrid event, online and physical , due to the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic and the need to adhere to health management protocols laid down by authorities.
Odubiyi said the event was part of the bank’s commitment to the critical sectors of the Nigerian economy under its well thought-out and impact-based HEART initiative.
“Agriculture is one of the five sectors the bank is concentrating investment in. The other sectors are Health, Education, Renewable Energy and Transportation, ’’ he said.
The executive director said that the physical studios would be stationed in Abuja and Lagos for selected persons, speakers and panellists, adding that participants were required to register online via the summit’s official website: https://agricsummit.org/.
The statement, however, announced that Mastercard Foundation, Africa Development Bank (AfDB) and IDH as headline sponsors of this year’s event was indicative of significant strides in providing access to capital for women, small and medium scale enterprises and smallholders farmers.
Other partners confirmed to be supporting this year’s event include Flour Mills Nigeria PLC., NIRSAL and Nourishing Africa.
The statement also quoted Bukola Awosanya, Group Head, Agric and Solid Mineral Finance of the bank as saying that aside financing opportunities for stakeholders, the bank would also use the summit to facilitate conversations around key areas in the sector.
“The ongoing global pandemic has caused job losses across various sectors of the Nigerian economy – agribusiness inclusive. With these job loses have come a drop in overall productivity and capacity for effective demand.
“It will also have a virtual deal room, dedicated to bringing together business owners seeking capital and investors seeking opportunities to help facilitate sizeable investments that can drive increased output across the agri-business value chain.
“This year’s summit will seek to enable collaboration between stakeholders to help identify and deliver actionable steps to revolutionise Nigeria’s and sub-Saharan Africa’s agri-business industries for sustained long-term growth after the pandemic,’’ Awosanya said.
More than 2,500 delegates, financiers, entrepreneurs, government functionaries and agribusiness practitioners drawn from across the African continent, Asia, Europe and North America participated at the 2019 edition of the Summit.
Past editions of Agriculture Summit Africa have provided a platform for multi-disciplinary discussions on pervasive issues and practical solutions that will drive an integrated approach for food security in Africa, according to the statement.