First edition of the Agricultural and Rural Finance Forum was held at the conference centre in Yaounde, Cameroon.
Presided over by the Minister of Agriculture, delegates represented over 13 countries from Sub-Saharan Africa
The general objective of this forum is inclusive dialogue, experience and knowledge sharing on the financing of rural farmers and animal breeders in West and Central Africa. In addition, the review of public policy reforms underway or to be promoted to curb rural poverty, and ensure food security for the rural population. Specific objectives which will be discussed in-depth during the plenary sessions include the following:
1. Share knowledge and lessons learned from the implementation of government projects and programmes supported by IFAD and other technical and financial partners in support of financing rural farmers and pastoralists, as well as other stakeholders in the agricultural sector.
2.Capitalize on products, financial mechanisms and innovations including insurance developed in several countries by IFAD and partners to share the mapping of solutions that can help various projects and actors with financing needs adapted for agro-pastoral and fisheries development in Sub-Saharan Africa;
3. Conduct a reflection on the mechanisms for post-project internalization of financing mechanisms tested in the framework of projects and programs in support of the implementation of the national strategy for inclusive finance in the targeted countries of Central and West Africa;
4. Promote the implementation of innovative sustainable agricultural and livestock financing solutions for stakeholders in the rural, agro-pastoral and fisheries financial sector;
5. Strengthen the diversification of the financial services offer adapted to the demand of rural farmers and livestock breeders with the ultimate goal of increasing household income and reducing rural poverty;
6. Analyse policies and regulations (Government, Central Banks, regional integration organizations, IFAD and other donors) related to financial services intermediation and investment mobilization in favour of rural actors in order to agree on the necessary public policy reforms at the national and/or regional level;
7. Identify successful products and mechanisms: development funds, guarantee funds, financing lines, insurance, aggregator financing, input credits, etc.
8. Strengthen the capacity of stakeholders and build partnerships for the future.
The forum has been planned for four days focusing on three components: (i) an opening ceremony and a closing ceremony with round tables, visit of stands and theatrical stages showcasing the actions of agro-pastoral investors and entrepreneurs, coupled with; (ii) plenary and parallel sessions with interactive debates, and finally; (iii) field visits that contextualise the achievements and challenges of rural farmer financing in Cameroon's rural areas.