2019 Annual Bankers Conference to focus on strengthening support to agriculture

Three people at a press conference
(L-R) UBA Executive Director Wilbrod Owor (C) stresses a point during a press briefing to announce the 3rd Annual Bankers Conference planned for July 16. Looking on are UBA’s head of communications and corporate affairs, Patricia Amito, and UBA chairman, Patrick Mweheire. Credit: Uganda Bankers Association

The Uganda Bankers Association is set to hold the 3rd Annual Bankers Conference 2019 under the theme: De-risking financing & Investment in agriculture to promote decent youth employment and inclusive growth.

The one-day conference will be held on Tuesday July 16, 2019 at Kampala Serena Conference Center and will comprise a keynote address followed by a high-level panel discussion.

“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,” Wilbrod Owor, the UBA’s executive director said at a press conference this afternoon.

Patrick Mweheire, the UBA Chairman, said the focus is on agriculture because of its strategic importance to Uganda’s social and economic progress. Agriculture is the main source of livelihood to the majority of Ugandans, employing over 70% of the workforce, and is also a major source of export revenue and raw materials for industry.

Recent studies show that investment in agriculture continues to increase, but is not as high as other sectors of the economy. Private sector credit to agriculture hovers between 12-13% compared to other sectors like trade and real estate, where it is over 19% and 20%, 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,” Mr Mweheire said.

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

Ms Amito added that over 500 participants drawn from the banking and non-bank financial sector, insurance sector, international development partners and multilateral agencies are expected to attend the conference. Others include policy makers, government technocrats, farmer groups and various players from the agriculture sector, and service providers.

Officials expected to address the conference include the governor of the Bank of Uganda, the minister of agriculture and Marianne Schoemaker, managing director at Rabo Partnerships, who give the keynote address.

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