The President of the African Development Bank, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, is currently on a tour to seek global support for the bank’s programme to raise $3.3bn for African women and youths in enterprise.
This was disclosed in Abuja on Sunday in furtherance of Dr Akinwumi Adesina’s conviction that the future of food in the world depended on what Africa could do with agriculture.
“To expand opportunities for youth, women, and private sector players, Adesina is on a global mission to promote and seek support for the bank’s Affirmative Finance for Women in Africa programme” the bank said.
The global mission is targeted at mobilising $3bn to support women entrepreneurs who historically lack access to finance, land, and land titles; a $300 million enable youth programme to develop the next generation of agribusiness and commercial farmers for Africa; and a new global investment marketplace, the African Investment Forum,  which will be held in Johannesburg on November 7-9.
“With over 800 million people worldwide suffering from hunger and more than two billion affected by malnutrition, food insecurity remains a real threat to global development”. Adesina, who is making a global pitch for renewed visionary leadership and strategic alliances, is of the strongly believes that the future of food in the world will depend on what Africa does with agriculture.
The AfDB said it envisioned a food secure continent which would use advanced technologies, creatively adapt to climate change, and develop a whole new generation of ‘agripreneurs’ – empowered youths and women expected to take agriculture to the next level.
According to the statement, Adesina said, “Africa receives only two per cent of the $100bn annual revenues from chocolates globally. Adding value to what nations produce is the secret to their wealth. Producing chocolate instead of simply exporting cocoa beans does not require rocket science.”
In a separate meetings with the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation in The Hague, Sigrid Kaag; the Chief Executive Officer of the Dutch Entrepreneurial Development Bank, Peter van Mierlo; key private sector players, and members of the Dutch Foreign Affairs Advisory Council, Adesina said Africa and its partners must seize unprecedented opportunities for innovative partnerships and increased development impact.
In a statement, Mierlo was quoted to have said at the meeting, “A huge benefit for Africa is that it can skip development cycles that often almost all developed countries had to go through, by deploying new technologies such as artificial intelligence and robotics in agriculture.”
We Are Committed To Supporting SMEs- Ecobank
Ecobank Nigeria had reiterated its commitment to supporting SMEs in Nigeria. The Managing Director designate, Patrick Akinwuntan disclosed this during the introduction of Ecobank Nigeria Emerald Business Club held in Lagos.   He said “This is an exclusive product for our key local corporate and the SME clients”.
Mr Patrick said this development is founded on bank’s long-term commitment to supporting indigenous businesses within the country and in line with the bank’s vision to contribute to the economic development and financial integration of Africa.” He said the bank had developed initiatives to support trade business and lending to its target customers.
Ecobank has resolved to expand its scope in its commercial banking businesses and had designed products specifically tailored to meet the needs of target customers (largely local corporate, SME and key public sector participants). “We are willing to work with the peculiarities of each customer’s business so as to grow the economy, Mr Patrick said. In the same vein, the Emerald Business Club is being proposed as an implementation platform for this Ecobank focus approach.”
In his own statement, Mr. Rotimi Morohunfola, Head, Commercial Banking said the club is an initiative of commercial bank business across Ecobank Group in Africa. “We have looked at the market space, specifically looking at the commercial businesses that drive the economy and we clearly know that the SME and the major local corporates are the key drivers of the economic activities in Nigeria and across Africa,” he said.
He said it would form a formidable partnership that would make it the preferred banking partner because Emerald club comes with certain value adding offerings, in terms of banking service solutions, and concessions in terms of prices of certain services it provides.