Speaking at the event held at the Metzy Residence in Kotu, Mariama Ashcroft, technical adviser for the Access to Finance with GIZ ECOWAS FRSD, stated that they have the vision to do more than what the project required them – which was to initially give starter kits to young entrepreneurs who want to start business in the agriculture sector.
She explained that they wanted to know the root cause of why young people are not able to start a business without requesting for a grant. She added that was why they decided to look at the system for access to finance to identify the barriers and bottlenecks that prevent young people from starting a business on agriculture.
“We introduced a new initiative where we will engage different stakeholders to appreciate the problem and work with us to design the solution. We are looking at solutions they will take on their own and not expect donor funding. We are training both beneficiaries and entrepreneurs to understand what is needed for them to borrow money for their agric business,” she stated.
Daouda Sakho, lead consultant from Senegal, also stated that his institution is assisting the GIZ project to do the mapping of the agriculture value chain financing in The Gambia. They also want to see the problems and opportunities that they could build on to boost the financing of the agriculture value chain, with new solutions and opportunities such as digital financing and insurance.
He said: “We realised that financing with commercial banks and even microfinance institutions is a small part of the whole financial system. Agriculture is representing more than half of the work in the country and needs financial flows in these sectors. How to do it is to better understand the function of the agriculture value chain.”
He continued that agricultural financing is considered somehow risky and that they are trying to inform them about new approaches.
Yasainey Tambedou, a participant from Insist Global, thanked GIZ while revealing that at her institution, they have a business management tool with e-commerce and a digital loan application. She expected that the forum would harness the country’s agricultural sector and provide funding for entrepreneurs in agric business.