By Philip Odiakose
Stanbic IBTC, a member of Standard Bank Group, has said it plans to increase its allocation to the agricultural sector, given the importance of the sector to job creation and economic prosperity and growth. Chief Executive of Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC, Mrs. Sola David-Borha, reiterated this commitment at the 2016 Stanbic IBTC Business Leadership Series in Lagos.
David-Borha said financing remains a critical component of a vibrant and sustainable agricultural sector and that the Stanbic IBTC Group will continue to help unlock opportunities that exist in the sector through its support for businesses and initiatives across the entire agriculture value chain.
“We all know that agriculture is capable of creating millions of jobs across the entire value chain, drive export and the much-needed foreign exchange. We intend to continue to support that sector by increasing our allocation and providing a platform for engagement. We have a defined risk appetite for agriculture and we have structured our portfolio to ensure that we manage this risk as we support farmers in primary production as well as agro-allied businesses,” David-Borha said.
She said as the next growth sector, the focus on agriculture is not misplaced and urged stakeholders in the agriculture value chain, particularly governments and private sector players, to renew the focus through partnerships and initiatives that will maximise the sector’s potential.
Stanbic IBTC, David-Borha stated, is also committed to providing platforms like the Business Leadership Series for showcasing Nigeria’s economic potential to the world, particularly ongoing reforms in the agricultural sector, with emphasis on improvements in infrastructure, agro-industrial zones, financing and an enabling policy environment crucial to the full exploitation of the agricultural value chain and attainment of food security.
“Stanbic IBTC remains committed to the diversification drive of the federal government and we will continue to seek opportunities to showcase the country’s economic potential as well as provide financing for viable projects in agriculture and other sectors of the economy,” David-Borha said.
Stanbic IBTC continues to play a leading role in the agricultural sector and has participated in some major private sector deals across the agriculture value chain over the past few years. It has disbursed over N25 billion to farmers under key CBN agriculture credit schemes, and established an Outgrower Scheme, where smallholder farmers are matched with offtakers, among other initiatives in the agriculture sector, Head, Agriculture Banking, Stanbic IBTC Bank, Mr Jerry Gushop, said at the event.
The Stanbic IBTC Business Leadership Series is an annual event that facilitates the sharing of knowledge and information among local and international participants drawn from key sectors of the economy to stimulate deeper engagements and outcomes for the sectors and unlock investment opportunities in the country.
This year featured as lead speakers the Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh; Jason Drew, South African farmer and eco-entrepreneur, who achieved global fame by creating a thriving enterprise via the cultivation of maggots; and Kola Masha, Managing Director, Doreo Partners, an impact investment firm.
Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC, a full service financial services group with a clear focus on three main business pillars – Corporate and Investment Banking, Personal and Business Banking and Wealth Management. Standard Bank Group, to which Stanbic IBTC Holdings belongs, is the largest African bank by assets and market capitalization. It is rooted in Africa with strategic representation in 20 countries on the African continent. Standard Bank has been in operation for over 153 years and is focused on building first-class, on-the-ground financial services institutions in chosen countries in Africa; and connecting selected emerging markets to Africa by applying sector expertise, particularly in natural resources, power and infrastructure.