Lady in her garden

Uganda Bankers Association (UBA), an umbrella of over 20 commercial banks, is to hold the 3rd Annual Bankers Conference (ABC) 2019 under the theme:‘De-risking Financing and Investment in agriculture to promote decent youth employment and inclusive growth.

The one-day conference is slated for July16, 2019 at Kampala Serena Conference and will comprise a keynote address followed by a high-level panel discussion.

While addressing a press conference, Wilbrod Owor the UBA Executive Director said, “This year’s conference aims to facilitate a focused discussion among key players and stakeholders regarding financing of agriculture while leveraging on several perspectives for mitigating risk including market incentives, technology, insurance, research, specific policy frameworks, a wider support and collaborative framework to ensure sustainable growth & investment in the agriculture sector of Uganda.”

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Patrick Mweheire, the UBA Chairman said, “We have chosen agriculture for a number of reasons, one being the strategic importance of the sector to Uganda’s social and economic progress.

Agriculture is the main source of livelihood to the majority of Ugandans, employing over 70 per cent of the workforce, and is also a major source of export revenue and raw materials for the agro-industry.”

Recent studies show that investment in agriculture continues to increase, but not as high as other sectors of the economy. Private Sector Credit to agriculture hovers between 12 percent- 13 percent compared to other sectors like trade, and real estate well at over 19 percent and 20 percent respectively.

“We would like as an industry to increase lending towards the Agricultural sector through interventions that address risks inherent in agricultural financing and the undertaking of agriculture as a business with all the discipline required therein,” Mweheire said.

Patricia Amito, Head Communications and Corporate Affairs, said the conference will focus on making financing agriculture attractive to financial institutions, leveraging on technology as an enabler to provide a range of support information required to unlock the potential in Uganda’s Agriculture sector, and using growth & transformation in the agricultural sector and its related value chains to promote financial inclusion and decent youth employment.

She said: “We expect over 500 participants including banking and non-bank financial sector executives, players from the insurance sector, international development partners and multilateral agencies, investment advisors, regulators, research associates and academia, policy makers, technocrats from governments, farmer groups and representatives from the various divisions of the agricultural sector (Crop, Animal, Fisheries, Forestry, Poultry) and the supporting service providers and players therein.

Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda is expected to preside over the opening ceremonies. The Bank of Uganda the Governor, Prof. Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile the Minister for Agriculture Matia Kasaija are expected with a keynote address to be delivered by Marianne Schoemaker Managing Director, Rabo Partnerships.

MasterCard, the official sponsor of the event expressed its commitment to supporting financial sector growth through capacity building, development of new products/services and initiatives to drive financial inclusion.