Review of Integrated De-Risking Schemes to Promote Rural and Agricultural Finance in Sub-Saharan Africa

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

In recognition of the well-understood macro-, meso- and micro-level challenges and risks associated with rural and agricultural finance, the need for a system-level approach to managing those risks is gaining increasing traction in the thinking and programming of the community of practice. Within this system-level view, the concept of holistic, integrated risk management as a means to de-risk the overall operating environment of agricultural value chains is recognised as a fundamental building block. Accordingly, numerous stand-alone and project-based “de-risking” arrangements have recently launched or are at various stages of design throughout sub-Saharan Africa and other regions.

These schemes employ a coordinated set of financing, risk-management and capacity building instruments to make agricultural finance less risky and to incentivise private financial service providers to increase their portfolio commitments to smallholder farmers and agri-SMEs. These schemes hold promise in addressing some of the persistent pain points in promoting the rural financial inclusion agenda and, by extension, contributing to the achievement of related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This webinar reviews the findings of a recent study by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) that analyses five such schemes in Sub-Saharan Africa in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Togo and Zimbabwe. The webinar will share some findings concerning the operations and performance of these schemes and emerging insights into how they can be improved, scaled-up or replicated in other country and programming contexts.


The webinar opens with interventions by Mr. Adriano Campolina, Team Leader, Rural Institutions, Services and Empowerment (RISE) on behalf of Director a.i., Social Policies and Rural Institutions Division, FAO, Mr. Mawira Chitima, OiC, Sustainable Production, Markets and Institutions Division (PMI), IFAD and Ms. Hedwig Siewertsen, Lead Financial Inclusion, AGRA


Mr. A’kos Szebeni, FAO

Akos is a Senior Rural Finance Specialist at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations where he provides technical assistance to FAO Member States, field programmes, and partner development finance institutions to design and implement initiatives related to inclusive rural finance, investment and risk management. In the past, he has held various managerial, advisory and analytical roles at global financial institutions – such as Citigroup – as well as boutique investment firms where he was responsible for financial and credit analysis; mergers and acquisitions advisory; capital raising and private equity transactions for emerging MSMEs globally. Mr. Szebeni holds a Master’s Degree in Development Economics from the University of Rome and is a candidate in the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) program.

Mr. Ezra Anyango, AGRA

Ezra is a Financial Inclusion expert with over 30 years’ hands on experience in Management, Consulting, Governance and Regulation. He is currently Senior Programme Officer – Blended finance with Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) based in Nairobi, with regional responsibilities. He has a wealth of experience having served in various senior positions within the Sub-Saharan Africa region, including with CARE International, DAI in East and West Africa regions, FINCA Malawi, Advisor to Kenya’s National Treasury, Advisor to the Africa Board Fellowship Programme (ABF) run by ACCION Centre for Financial Inclusion (CFI). Ezra holds both BA and MA degrees in Economics from Eastern Illinois University USA and has attended a short course in Finance (Financial Institutions for Private Enterprise Development (FIPED) programme at the Harvard Kennedy School of Executive Education.

Dr. Jonathan Ndaa Agwe (DM), IFAD

Jonathan is the Lead Regional Technical Specialist in Rural Finance, Markets and Enterprises in the Sustaianble Production, Markets and Institutions Division of the Strategy and Knowledge Department in the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) where he has been for the past 8 years. Jonathan is currently based in Abidjan and covering the 24 countries in the West and Central Africa region. He provides up-to-date technical advice to improve the capacity of IFAD and its partners to design, implement, monitor and evaluate policies, strategies, projects and programmes that promote access to sustainable inclusive financial services for pro-poor agricultural value chains and agricultural risk management. Jonathan has a cumulative work experience of over 33 years working in positions of responsibility in IFAD, the World Bank, Unilever Plantations and the Ministry of Agriculture of his home country. Jonathan holds a “Doctor of Management” degree in develeopment management and finance from the University Maryland University College, USA.