The Chief Executive Officer of Sterling Bank Plc, Mr. Abubakar Suleiman has said the bank is ready and willing to invest more in Nigeria’s agricultural sector, having invested more than N100 billion; a figure that represents about 15 percent of the bank’s total loans portfolio.
The Chief Executive Officer stated this in his closing remarks at the Agriculture Summit Africa (ASA) 2022 with the theme: “Engineering a Trillion Dollar Agricultural Economy,” which held recently both physically and virtually with more than 10,000 attendees from across the world.
Agriculture is one of the five sectors of the economy that the bank has focused its investments since 2018 as part of her HEART of Sterling strategy. The others are health, education, transportation, and renewable energy.
Suleiman observed that apart from the Bank of Agriculture, he could not think of any other financial institution that has committed its resources to agricultural financing like Sterling Bank
“When we started the journey about five years ago, we were very clear in our minds that we did not just want to make it a talk show and we have been changing the focus of the conversation from moving away from identifying problems to providing solutions and now we are bringing stakeholders together in a bid to effectively move the conversation forward with action.
The two-day event also featured key stakeholders and players from the agribusiness value chain such as Yemisi Iranloye of Psaltry International, Ayo Arikawe from Thrive Agric, Adetola Adegbayi of Leadway Assurance, Mira Mehta of Tomato Jos, Elenwor Ihua of the Nigerian Commodities Exchange, Femi Aiki of Foodlocker, Akin Akeredolu-Ale of the Lagos Commodities and Futures Exchange, Maxwell Olitsa of 2Scale, Sandy Eyal of CropIT, Victoria Madedor of AgroVerified, Taiwo Ayoade of Plantation Industries amongst other experts drawn from a diverse cross-section of the sector.
The Country Manager of Netherlands-based bank, Rabobank, Mr. Kevin Kabatsi, in his keynote address, talked about how the bank is using agriculture exchange to create a digital marketplace in countries where it operates.