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29.11.2011 Business & Finance

Stanchart to focus resources on Agriculture in West Africa

By GNA
Stanchart to focus resources on Agriculture in West Africa
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Accra , Nov 28, GNA - Standard Chartered Bank says it will focus more resources to financing agriculture within countries in the West Africa sub-region with Ghana and Nigeria being prime targets but rule out any support for biofuel production.

“We are looking at and will devote some resources and shift to agriculture in West Africa but the banks policies are clear on biofuel and its effects on food security,” Mr Dan Mobley, Regional Head of Corporate Affairs, Stanchart said at a meeting with a cross-section of journalists to mark the end of his visit to Accra.

The bank, which has already devoted three billion dollars to financing agriculture, currently focuses its activities in countries in the Southern Africa region.

Mr Mobley said although the focus of operations would be on commercial farmers, the bank was exploring the possibility to partner governments to develop innovative schemes for small holder farmers to enhance food security.

He said it was an exciting time to explore opportunities in Africa as investors were more focused on the continent as forecast had shown that seven countries on the continent would be among the 10 fastest growing economies over the next years.

“This growth is not only driven by commodities but is broad based and sustainable,” he said.

Mr Mobley said key growth poles would be agriculture financing since a large percentage of the arable land is yet to be put under cultivation, infrastructure project and increasing demand of consumers for sophisticated financial services.

It is estimated that about 75 per cent of the continent's growth will come from the agricultural sector.

However, Mr Mobley said, governments on the continent must do more to attract investment into agriculture through building the necessary linkages in infrastructure and undertaking reforms to help boost production.

He said the bank is also in a unique position to explore the explosive growth in trade between Africa and Asia, adding that the Asia-African trade corridor was important for growth.

Ghana is Stanchart's second largest market in Africa.

GNA

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