The Bank of Agriculture (BoA) says it has secured $1.118 million grant from the African Development Bank (AfDB) for its capacity building and institutional strengthening projects.
In a statement made available on Tuesday in Kaduna, Oluremi Olaoye, the Corporate Communication Manager of the bank, said the projects would enable the bank to sufficiently serve the Nigerian rural dwellers’ financial needs.
According to Olaoye, AfDB will provide $987,510.30, or 88.12 per cent of the amount, while the Bank of Agriculture would provide 130,997.03 dollars or 11.88 per cent as matching grant.
The grant would be used to finance programmes that would lead to the expansion of the bank’s target clientele, which is currently small due to low institutional capacity.
The grant is being provided through the AfDB’s Middle Income Countries Technical Assistance Fund (MIC-TAF) to strengthen the BoA.
“The grant is to support BoA in its restructuring phase, in order to provide improved financial services to Nigerian farmers, especially the small, medium and commercial farmers.
“It will also support BoA in preparing a strategic transformation into an operationally sound and commercially viable financial institution.
“The AfDB grant will also enable the bank to develop appropriate financial products, well suited to meet the needs of its clients, which include rural farmers and small and medium agricultural-value-chain actors.
Olaoye said the project task would include conducting a diagnostics of BoA in order to propose a transformation strategy and a new model that will allow it respond to the farmer’s financing needs.
The project would also conduct a human resource capacity audit with reference to the mandate of the bank and provide new organogram of human resource strategy that would meet its new vision.
The funds would also be used to build human resource capacity and improve skills and competence in crucial business areas; notably in credit risk management and agriculture finance.
It also hoped to use part of the grant to improve its agriculture data management and develop digital financial inclusion products, tailored to the needs of farmers and other clients, especially in rural, under served and under-banked areas.
Improvement in the technical and managerial skills of BoA human resource in risk management, agricultural finance, appraisal and monitoring of loan products, as well as agricultural data management would also be in focus.
“It is expected that at the end of the project, BoA will be able to take on viable projects efficiently and become a viable financial institution, thus achieving its transformation objective of becoming the foremost self-sustaining Development Finance Institution in Africa,’’ Olaoye said.