About the event

While the COVID-19 crisis has caused disruptions in African agricultural value chains, access to financial products and services for agri-SMEs to engage in markets has remained critical. In this webinar, we will explore how actors that provide or facilitate access to value chain and trade finance for agri-SMEs have responded to the crisis. As in earlier sessions in this SAFIN-AGRIFIN joint webinar series, our focus will be particularly on how the crisis has brought out new opportunities to strengthen business models in value chain and trade finance, and what promising innovations are emerging in the landscape.


Iris van der Velden, Global Director Innovation & Insights, IDH (Chair)
Iris is the Global Director of Innovation & Insights at IDH, leading a team of experts on key impact areas such as better incomes, better jobs, sustainable landscapes, and reduction and storage of GHG. She joined IDH in 2013 as a specialist working on smallholder finance and on making services for smallholders more sustainable and effective. She developed the Service Delivery Model methodology and is now leading the Farmfit Intelligence Center.

Ayodeji Balogun, Chief Executive Officer, AFEX Commodities Exchange Limited
Ayodeji Balogun is the CEO of AFEX Commodities Exchange, where he leads a team of experts leveraging technology, innovative finance, and inclusive agriculture to connect agri-SMEs and smallholder farmers to commodity and financial markets. Ayodeji has almost twenty years’ experience in trading across West Africa as well as in building and scaling businesses across Sub-Saharan Africa.

Andrew Barr-Sim, Managing Director, Vallis Group Limited
After 7 years in the British Army, Andrew embarked on a career in commodities in 1987 starting with 5 years as a sugar broker in London, England. Andrew is now the Managing Director and a minority shareholder of Vallis Group Ltd. Since 2005, Vallis has handled 50 million tonnes totalling $30 billion worth of goods and provided services for 130 different products.

Kola Masha, Managing Director, Babban Gona
Kola is the Managing Director of Babban Gona, an award-winning social enterprise in Nigeria, part-owned by the farmers it serves. Kola has significant leadership experience in venture capital, corporate finance, business development, marketing and operations across four continents with multiple global companies, including GE, Notore and Abiomed. Kola also has extensive public sector experience as the Senior Advisor to the Nigerian Minister of Agriculture.

Mariel Mensink, Rural Finance Advisor, Fair and Sustainable Consulting
Mariel has over 25 years’ experience in rural and agri-business development; rural finance and value chain finance, micro-finance, business development services, market linkages and supply chain development. She has worked in Africa and Asia, gaining experience in management and policy advise, organizational development and financial sector policy development, as well as development of gender and rural finance strategies. She is currently working for Fair and Sustainable Consulting, a subsidiary of ICCO- a Dutch based development organization.

Resource materials
Webinar recording


Event Details:

Event dates: Jul 16, 2020, 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM GMT+2

Location: Online

Organizer: SAFIN