2:00 pm
3:15 pm

Investing in agriculture during the COVID-19 crisis: Perspectives from the impact finance world

Kusi Hornberger, Hans Loth, Luca Torre, Rosanne Whalley, Stefania Lenoci, Alberto Millian
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Hosted by:
Smallholder and Agri-SME Finance and Investment Network
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About the webinar
Panel will focus on the role of venture capital providers, impact funds and development finance institutions (DFIs) in supporting agricultural actors amid the COVID-19 crisis.

It is well documented that the COVID-19 crisis is putting pressure on the financial assets of farmers, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and other actors in agricultural value chains across the world. The pressing need for working capital and trade finance that many agri-SMEs need to keep afloat is increasingly being discussed. Against this need, policymakers have largely focused attention on the response capacity of regulated financial service providers (FSPs) such as rural and agricultural banks, commercial banks, and also second tier banks.

However, addressing the financial needs of entrepreneurs in the sector requires that different types of finance providers have the capacity to respond while themselves staying afloat. In this context, it is critical to consider the roles of aggregators providing value chain finance, non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs) with specific focus on the underserved segments in the sector, and impact investors with assets either in these institutions or in agri-SMEs.

This panel will focus on the third group of actors, notably venture capital providers, impact funds and development finance institutions (DFIs). The discussion will be kicked off by the presentation of a recent research note produced by Dalberg for the KfW Agriculture Finance Programme, entitled “Impact of COVID-19 on Agriculture SMEs”.

Panellists will then engage questions around the following:

  • How is the crisis affecting the demand for impact finance in the sector, particularly among NBFIs, microfinance institutions (MFIs) and agri-SMEs?
  • What new risks and opportunities does COVID-19 bring to their existing portfolio and the potential pipeline of impact investors in this sector?
  • How are investors responding to these new risks and opportunities, and what are the challenges in doing so?
  • Is there scope for better coordination among different types of impact finance providers – particularly private impact investors and DFIs – to address the financial needs of agri-SMEs, NBFIs and MFIs against COVID-19?
©IFAD/Barbara Gravelli
Focus Region:
Focus Topic:
Agricultural Value Chains / Agri-Businesses
Rural Finance / Insurance
About the speakers

Kusi Hornberger

Global Knowledge Lead and Associate Partner, Dalberg Advisors

Kusi Hornberger is an Associate Partner, based in the Washington, DC office. In addition to serving as Dalberg’s Global Knowledge Lead Associate Partner, Kusi also co-leads Dalberg’s Finance & Investment Practice and is particularly passionate about the use of innovative finance and technology to accelerate the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Kusi’s recent work includes various projects at the intersection of impact investing/blended finance and agriculture, global health and financial services sectors.  For example, in the agriculture sector, Kusi led a financial benchmarking of social lenders providing loans to agricultural small and medium enterprises. In the health sector, Kusi led the design of a blended finance fund aimed at investing in digital health solutions. In the financial services sector, he developed case studies on how data analytics and partnerships can be used to improve the sustainability of financial services to small scale producers.

Prior to joining Dalberg, Kusi was Vice-President of Investment Research at Global Partnerships, an impact-first investor with investments across Central/South America and East Africa. He also has experience working as a management consultant at Bain & Company in South America and as an Investment Officer with the International Finance Corporation.

Kusi holds a Master of Business Administration from INSEAD Business School in Singapore, a Master of Public Administration in International Development from the Harvard Kennedy School and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania.

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Hans Loth

Global Head UN Environment Partnership, Rabobank

Hans Loth is Global Head UN Environment Partnership at Rabobank. He is responsible for building and managing the bank’s new strategic partnership, which is a keystone in the bank’s global environmental work.

Prior to taking up his current position, Hans fulfilled various general management and strategy roles within the Rabobank Group. Most recently, he was Director Strategy & Business Change for Rabobank Indonesia, where he was responsible for developing and implementing a new strategy for the bank in this key Asian market. Prior to that Hans worked with Rabobank Foundation, as well as Rabobank’s corporate banking team, through which he developed a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities of global food value chains – “from Farm to Fork”.

Hans started his career an international mergers and acquisitions lawyer at a private law firm. With his eldest daughter off to university, Hans lives with his wife and two sons in Hilversum, the Netherlands.

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Luca Torre

Co-Founder and Co-CEO of GAWA Capital

Luca Torre is the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of GAWA Capital, an impact investing fund manager advising 150million EUR. He has spent most of his career investing in and advising microfinance and financial institutions. Prior to founding GAWA, he worked at Credit Suisse Investment Banking in New York advising many microfinance institutions in accessing capital markets.

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Rosanne Whalley

CEO, AHL Venture Partners

Based in Nairobi, Rosanne leads all aspects of AHL’s strategic and operational activities. Rosanne brings over a decade of direct experience investing in Africa and building financial institutions. Prior to assuming the CEO role, Rosanne lead investments in East and Southern Africa, providing active post-investment portfolio support.

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Stefania Lenoci

Head, Private Sector Advisory and Implementation Unit, IFAD

Stefania Lenoci is the Head of the Private Sector Advisory and Implementation Unit (PAI) in the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) since February 2020. Created in 2019, PAI acts as the main coordinating unit for the implementation of IFAD’s Private Sector Engagement Strategy. Before joining PAI, she served as Adviser of the President of IFAD in Rome since 2017. Previously, she served as Adviser to the Vice-President of IFAD, as Partnership Officer in the Partnership and Resource Mobilization Office (2012-2017) and as Governing Bodies Officer in the Office of the Secretary (2010-2012).

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Alberto Millian

Sustainable Finance Advisor, International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)

Alberto Millan has more than ten years of experience harnessing science and finance to advance sustainable development. He is an expert on agriculture finance and climate finance, and currently works on exploring the intersections between both disciplines.

Prior to CIAT, he was an Agricultural Specialist in the World Bank Global Food and Agriculture Practice (GFADR), supported by the CCAFS program.

Before joining the World Bank in Washington, D.C., Alberto worked as a management consultant and a financial inclusion expert for several UN agencies. Prior to these, he worked for several INGOs on agriculture and financial inclusion based out of Europe, Africa and Asia.

He holds a BA and MA in Economics from Universidad Rey Juan Carlos de Madrid, Spain, an International Master in Microfinance from Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Spain, and a Diploma in Enterprise Development through Value Chains and Business Service Markets from ITC-ILO.

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