Marie-Claire Matamba, representing Agrimat from Gabon was named the Project Incubator Award Winner at this year’s edition of the Africa Finance & Investment Forum (AFIF). Her presentation focusing on her agricultural project in Gabon won the critiques over due to her effective and realistic approach to cultivating her local farmland and providing income and jobs to women and young people in her area.
Competing alongside another three innovative projects, which included Mahesh Bakaya Director of GWC from Lesotho, Magloire N’Dakon President of Afrique Agri Industrie (Cote D’Ivoire), and Jacques Engouindi from Congo representing SCS, Matamba’s presentation pin-pointed exact areas of growth and realistic figures to be attained over a five year span.
Now, back in her home country, Matamba has already clear plans with what she will do with the prize money sponsored this year by EMRC: “With the US$5000, we will mechanize our project to increase production and productivity, such as buying a chainsaw for example. We will create some jobs. We intend to recruit an experienced agronomist to advise us about techniques that we do not know.”
She is also realistic about the reality of women in Gabon in terms of agriculture and what should be done to improve the situation. “In Gabon, agriculture is not developed. Women still work in the traditional manner. But many are now interested in agriculture. To strengthen the agricultural sector, we need partners and donors. Women (I guess) are the pillars of this sector, they need to participate in agricultural trainings.”
Her determination and vision were in parallel to the other like-minded participants at AFIF2013. 200 participants gathered for two days in Geneva (held from 13-14 June 2013) to experience yet another successful AFIF forum entitled ‘Trade for Growth and Development’.
AFIF 2013 was organised in partnership with AFREXIMBANK, in collaboration with knowledge partners International Trade Centre (ITC) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC, World Bank) as well as partner organisations Ecobank, LR Group, the National Programme on Food Security (PNSA), Ace-Global Depository, Best African Resort Group and Bayelsa State Nigeria.
Chaired by Dr. Babacar Ndiaye, former & Honorary President of African Development Bank, founder of Afreximbank and the African Business Roundtable, the conference put the spotlight on inter-regional trade within Sub Saharan Africa and provided an international platform for business people, experts, academics and local community representatives to voice their ideas, concerns and to establish business partnerships.
An essential component of AFIF forums are the B2B meetings where partnerships are forged. In just two days, 84 participants from 32 countries held 674 such meetings. “As the years go by, the B2B sessions become more intense and productive. This year was no exception and participants left with some real concrete ideas and potential partners”, concluded a delighted Idit Miller, EMRC International Vice President and Managing Director.
Stakeholders linked to African trade were also present in Geneva, which included government officials, experts, financiers, entrepreneurs and civil society, such as: Africa Agriculture & Trade Investment Fund (AATIF) – ECOBANK – Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) – Netherlands Development Finance Company (FMO) – UN Conference for Trade & Development (UNCTAD) – AMSCO – LR Group and many others.
For the first time, a pre-conference training session entitled “Designing and Presenting a Business Plan” took place (11-12 June), organised by ITC (UN Agency) experts, making it a unique opportunity for participants to ensure their business reaches the next level.
To read the entire interview of Marie-Claire Matamba, please visit our website: www.emrc.be