News 24/7 understands that 0ver 18,000 smallholder farmers are set to benefit from the digital loans which were launched today by Uganda Development Bank, in partnership with Ensibuuko, European Union, United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), as well as Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has launched a Fintech solution dubbed AgriConnect to ease access to digital financing for smallholder farmers in Uganda.
The planners envisioned that the pilot project targets to reach at least 1,000 smallholder farmers. The farmers will have access to digital loans to enable them to increase production, intensify food security, and boost household incomes of the farming communities across Uganda. Learnings from the pilot will enable the implementers to scale the solution to impact more farmers with a target of 18,000 at full cycle.
“The event is special in two ways: It is the launch of Uganda’s first ever digital agricultural loan for savings groups, it is also the first-ever launch of a strategic partnership between the Uganda Development Bank and a Ugandan fintech. Such purposeful collaborations are important for financial inclusion, and will go a long way in validating the maturity of Uganda’s fintech landscape,” said Mr Gerald Otim, CEO at Ensibuuko.
While speaking at the launch, Patricia Ojangole the Managing Director of Uganda Development Bank said,
“Together with our partners, we have unveiled an innovative Fintech solution aimed at disseminating credit to the mass lower underserved markets consequently driving financial and digital inclusion.”
She added, “The world is fast evolving resultant of advancements in technology, and it is key that as a development finance partner, we recognize such changes and make deliberate effort to back inventions that influence the growth of key sectors of the economy like Agriculture, which employs 68% of the country’s population.”
Uganda’s scope of financial services encompassed by Fintech has steadily been increasing and this has been necessitated by network readiness, digital literacy, and mobile phone penetration. According to World Bank, Uganda ranks 172nd on Gross National Income (GNI) and 116th on the Network Readiness Index (NRI), respectively. The country’s Mobile penetration is at 49% and smartphone adoption is at 16%; all of which account for the contribution of the digital economy which contributes 7% to the economy.
“Over the last few decades, digitalization has transformed the way of life world-over, causing varied social and economic changes. Likewise, in Uganda, digitalization continues to take root in shaping various sectors, and specifically the financial services. AgriConnect will reinvigorate and reshape our country Uganda. This indeed is a timely product for Uganda,” said State Minister of Finance for Investment and Privatization.
“With services like this, Uganda is indeed on a good trajectory to achieve its goals as stipulated in the National Development Plan and Vision 2040.”
Hon. Anite lauded UDB, FAO, UNCDF, EU and Ensibuuko for the critical role in the socio-economic transformation of Uganda and pledged the government’s continued support towards this agenda.
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