Authority Prepares Nat’l Action Plan for Implementation of EU Deforestation-free Products RegulationDigital Mobile Banking Emerges As New Opportunities For Banks To Reach SME’s And Chamas

A consultative meeting on the National Action Plan for the implementation of Compliance Measures on European Union Deforestation-free Products Regulation (EUDR) was held today.

Under the EU regulation, any operator or trader who places commodities like cattle, soy, beef, palm oil, wood, cocoa, coffee, rubber on the EU market or exports from it must be able to prove that the products do not originate from recently deforested land or contributed to forest degradation.

The Ethiopian Coffee and Tea Authority has prepared a three-year National Action Plan for the implementation of Compliance Measures on European Union Deforestation-free Products Regulation in collaboration with ministries of Finance and Agriculture.

Opening the consultative meeting on the action plan today, Ethiopian Coffee and Tea Authority Director-General Adugna Debela said adjustment to the EU regulation is crucial as Ethiopia's coffee export to European Union member countries accounts about 30 percent.

According to him, the regulation creates opportunity to revise polices and make them suit with other international policies, strengthen organizational structures and sustainable coffee production system, among others.

It is also an additional driver and opportunity to further continue the nation's magnificent Green Legacy Initiative, which has been successfully implemented for the past five years, Adugna said.

The objective of the national action plan tabled for discussion is to create awareness among stakeholders along all the value chains to work together.

The European Union Deforestation-free Products Regulation has entered into force effective December 30, 2024, it was learned.

Many countries around the world have made significant efforts over the past decade to reduce deforestation, for example by introducing moratoria or measures to improve transparency in the supply chain.

Yet, deforestation and forest degradation continue at an alarming rate contributing more than 10 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Source: Ethiopian News Agency

The banking sector is leveraging digital and mobile banking to expand financing to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to boost economic growth. With SME's contribution to the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) estimated to be around 40 to 50%, banks are seeking to reach these crucial sectors by availing more funds to chamas and other groups. Kenya Bankers Association (KBA) Chief Executive Officer Halib Olaka acknowledged the big steps the KBS had taken towards digitization of banking services from the use of pass books in the mid and late 90s to fully digitized systems which include the ATM (1989) cards and even mobile banking applications (Apps). Speaking on Wednesday at a Nairobi hotel during the IandM media engagement themed 'Venturing into new frontiers into the creation of shared values', Olaka however noted that the transformation was not a walk in the park, as between 1980s and 1990s the systems had faced several challenges including the collapsing of some banks the last of these were Chase ba nk, Imperial bank, and Dubai bank. He said that out of all these drawbacks the KBA emerged with better legal regulations to ensure no redundancy. At the end of 2022, Over 44,000 banking sector staff have completed sustainability training through E-Learning platform, and by 2023, they are among Africa's readiest sectors to make climate-related disclosures. Financial Sector Deepening (FSD) Kenya Chief Executive Officer Tamara Cook, spoke on the role of Financial Service Industry in value creation in communities. Despite the advent of digital technology, the banking industry has only managed to reach 25% of the national population with accounts 115 years into its existence. Cook highlighted that many Kenyans were still incapable or skeptical of joining the banks or opening an account, this did not mean that the general public didn't get financial funding, they did but from other financial institutions. She insisted that this was as a result of a gap in the banking system. She suggested that banks should fun d microfinance groups to achieve financial liberation and involve common mwananchi in the growing banking system. However, she spoke of the future of finance, a type of finance that allowed you to work freely as it supported you in the background. Cook highlighted that this could only be attained if the Kenya Bureau Standard changed some regulations including the interest rates and transaction costs. Gul Khan said that the bank's 2024-2026 strategy has a long term ambition to be the leading financial partner for growth in the country. It intends to do so through brand relevance, group synergies, resilience, digitization, and cultural transformation. Khan said that IandM bank has undergone several changes to accommodate and include all parts of the society. From formerly a Tier one corporate and business bank to now opening its doors to all SMEs and Microfinance, with a target of increasing its members from 560,000 to 1000,000 by 2026. 'There's a massive last mile economy in Kenya and sub-Saharan Africa, a nd banks due to whatever reasons have just not done a good job in servicing that last mile economy and we believe at IandM bank the way we can do that really well is through partnerships,' said Khan. He explained that IandM bank has launched a mobile banking application, simplifying transactions, money transfers, savings, and credit eligibility. IandM Group PLC Regional CEO Kiara Maina highlighted the company's strong focus on innovation and seamless finance in the manufacturing sector. 'We have created products such as the International Finance Corporation (IFC) Trade Lines which became really popular with our clients as it enabled them to grow their business without having to pay upfront all the cash that was required to invest in the business,' said Kihara. Kihara also pioneered partnering with insurance companies to form IandM Assurance Intermediary Limited in 2014 that helped with medical bills of the bank's members, this was made possible through Digital Transformation and Partnerships. Source: Ken ya News Agency