Speakers ~ Financing Agriculture Forum 2015


Keynote speaker 

GILLES BOUMEESTER was appointed Global Head of Rabobank's Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory department in July 2014. From Rabobank's Head Office in Utrecht, the Netherlands, he manages a global team of 80 analysts in 13 countries. Gilles joined Rabobank in 1997 and held several commercial management roles in Utrecht before he was appointed Regional Head of Asia, based in Hong Kong, in 2007. In 2010 he returned to the Netherlands as Global Head F&A Coverage. Gilles holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration with a specialization in Financing from Erasmus University in Rotterdam.




Speaker Profiles

ANTONIO ABUFELE COELLO is Regional Vice President of Business Development, Banco Continental, Honduras. In his current role, Antonio performs a myriad of duties from performing the strategic annual planning of the bank to participating in the tendering processes.  He is a graduate of the Universidad de San José, Costa Rica in Aquaculture Engineering Studies.


MICHAEL ANDRADE is Senior Vice President and Business Head of Agriculture at HDFC Bank, India.  Previously, he worked for a couple of multinational banks, including Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and Barclays Bank Plc.  With 22 years of banking experience, Michael has worked in rural markets since 2001.  He pioneered and developed the Business Correspondent model for agriculture finance through partnerships with cooperatives and companies working with farmers as an effective distribution tool.  He is a graduate in Science and has a post-graduate degree in Financial Management from Mumbai University.


YANITH CHHENG is Head of Credit at AMRET. He obtained a BBA majoring in Finance and Banking in 2004 and an MBA majoring in Financial Management in 2008 at Royal University of Law and Economics (RULE). He joined working with AMRET in mid May 2007 as a Senior Credit Controller, and then promoted as an Internal Control Unit Manager in 2009, and Deputy Head of Credit in 2011. In June 2012, he was promoted to Head of Credit.Yanith has over than 10 years of experience in microfinance institutions, and has specialized in credit product, methodology, training and coaching of credit officer and managers, and project management.

DEMET CIFTCI is Yapi Kredi Agriculture Segment Manager. Starting her career in Yapı Kredi Credit Management, Demet worked in Commercial & SME Credit Underwriting, SME Project Support functions of the Bank. In 2011, she moved to Agriculture Underwriting organization and worked for 3 years in the agriculture underwriting unit. In 2014 Demet became Agriculture Segment Manager which covers both Sales & Marketing business units in Yapı Kredi. Demet graduated from Economics at Middle East Technical University and received her MBA from Bilgi University, Turkey. In addition to Turkish, Demet speaks fluent English and basic French.

CARLOS CUEVAS is a Senior Development Economist who is currently a Senior Lecturer/Distinguished Practitioner at Evans School of Public Affairs, University of Washington. Before joining the Evans school, Cuevas was Deputy Director of the Financial Services for the Poor initiative at the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation.  Prior to joining the foundation in 2009, Dr. Cuevas was Financial Sector Policy Advisory Consultant at the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) and The World Bank Group (since February 2008), and before that a Financial Sector Development Adviser at the World Bank between March 1995 and January 2008. A specialist in rural finance and microfinance, Cuevas has worked on cooperative finance, development banking, and regulatory and supervisory issues. He managed or participated in World Bank lending operations, sector work and technical assistance worldwide during his 13 years as regular staff.  Dr. Cuevas holds a Master of Science degree in agricultural economics from the Catholic University of Chile and a Ph.D. in agricultural economics from The Ohio State University.

OMER F. DEMIRHAN is an agricultural banking consultant for Frankfurt School of Finance and Management. He started his career in state bank of agriculture, then continued to work for two private banks respectively to establish agricultural banking units. He developed agri finance tools, products and organization models, including experience on governmental rural development plans for Turkey’s accession to EU and several projects that funded by major IFIs. Recently, he is consulting and giving trainings to different FIs in the world on agri finance strategies, tools, products, organizations and on value chain finance.


TARKAN ERSIN is the chairman of Fruit Growers organisation - and Pasakoy Agriculture Cooperative. He was born in Çorlu, Turkey into a family that has been conducting agriculture business on the same farm for for 132 years. Tarkan studied Industrial Engineering in İstanbul and has masters degree in international economics and trade from London. After being a lecturer in university for 2 years he decided to pursue a career in the family business.  


CURT EVERSON President, since 2002, of South Dakota Bankers Association, a trade association representing 98 percent of state and federally chartered banks and savings institutions in South Dakota. He is primarily responsible for all association government relations activities, both at the state and federal level. Curt obtained a Bachelor of Science in Agric Business and Master of Science in Economics at South Dakota State University


BARBARA GHANSAH Loan Officer, Root Capital. Barbara has been with Root Capital since March 2011 and is responsible for lead generation, loan application processing and client relationship management in Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone. She also assists in coordinating training and technical assistance on financial management to selected candidates and clients. She has extensive experience in providing business development and financial advisory support to SMEs. Prior to Root Capital, she worked as Lead Consultant at Zircon Business Advisory Services and as Consultant at Deloitte & Touche in Ghana as well as Project Officer at National Investment Bank, a development bank in Ghana.


CAROL KAKOOZA, Program Director, Agri-Fin Mobile, Mercy Corps.  Working with Mercy Corps as Program Director for Agri-Fin Mobile, an agricultural advisory services and financial literacy program provided through mobile, Carol is responsible for technical oversight in Uganda, Zimbabwe and Indonesia. Carol holds a Bachelor's degree in Mass communication and holds a Master's degree in Management of Information systems from Makerere University and an MBA from University of Wales.


FABIAN KASI, Managing Director – Centenary Bank, Uganda. Fabian is a Fellow Chartered Certified Accountant of UK.  He holds an MBA from University of Newcastle in Australia and a first class degree of Bachelor of Commerce in accounting from Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda. He is 47 years old married and a Rotarian. He is currently, the Managing Director of Centenary Bank, Uganda. 



LUSUNGU KAUNDA, is the Chief Relationship Officer at Banco Oportunidade de Moçambique (BOM), a microfinance bank owned by Opportunity International. He is responsible for sales and marketing management, client transformation, strategic partnerships, and Agrifinance. Currently Lusungu chairs a national private sector led project responsible for Piloting of Warehouse Receipt in Mozambique. Prior to joining BOM, he worked as the Marketing Manager for Opportunity Bank in Malawi. He holds a degree in Agricultural Economics and a candidate for MBA (2015). Lusungu is a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM UK).


KORAY KAYA, Kredi Kayıt Bürosu (KKB), Strategic Planning and Corporate Relations Department Executive Vice President. Koray started his career in Garantibank in 1995. After serving in retail credits for 9 years, he joined Experian in 2004 as a senior business consultant. Kaya has taken place in the projects related credit decision automation almost in every bank of Turkey. Kaya worked as Retail and Agri Credits Allocation Department Director for TEB from 2005 to 2009. He joined Akbank as the Head of Retail Credits Monitoring and Collection Department in 2009. Kaya continues his carrier as Strategic Planning and Corporate Relations Executive Vice President in KKB as of May 2012.


MAURINUS HAYFORD KONGWIEH, is Agribusiness Development Manager for Diageo. Maurinus joined Diageo two years ago as an early career graduate. His key role has been to lead Diageo’s local sourcing agenda in Ghana in a sustainable manner by developing and managing agricultural commodity chains that deliver value to farmers, the business and other stakeholders in the value chain. Within a year of joining Diageo, he has successfully led and developed an aggregator model that has streamlined and turned around the supply of cassava starch for the production of Ghana’s first Cassava beer and the fastest innovation in Diageo called Ruut Extra premium larger beer. Maurinus has a Bachelors Degree in Agricultural Technology and has a certificate in Executive Education in Agribusiness Management from the Ghana Institute of Management & Public Administration.


JOHN MAGNAY, is Head of Agriculture at Opportunity International. He has lived and worked in Uganda since 1977. A graduate of agricultural management from Wye College, University of London, he went to Uganda on a Ugandan government project to rebuild dairy farms and industry. After the fall of Idi Amin in 1979, he remained in Uganda starting his own business in the private sector, firstly supporting the agricultural sector with inputs and processing equipment and since the mid ‘80s buying produce for sale to relief agencies and regional trade. In 2001, he was the founder and chairman of Uganda Grain Traders Ltd, a consortium of 16 grain traders that exported the Uganda surplus maize to Zambia. In 2008, he retired from his commercial businesses and began working with Opportunity International, developing smallholder rural finance in Ghana, Rwanda, Uganda, Malawi and Mozambique.


MOPAI MASHATOLA, Head – Agribusiness Enablement - RoA, Barclays Africa. Mopai is an agricultural economist by training and is responsible for supporting Barclays in-country frontline to generate quality business, proposing risk-acceptable financing models to credit, ensuring optimal agri-marketing to facilitate meaningful client interaction and developing in-country client identification, retention and acquisition strategy. He has measureable experience in advising farmers on economic and financial management, and post-harvest technology adoption. Before joining Barclays Group, he worked for the Department of Agriculture (Director-Agribusiness Development), First National Bank (Regional Agricultural Manager) and South African Canegrowers Association (Regional Economic Advisor).


ELLEN OHENE AFOAKWA is Head of Global Clients in Barclays Ghana, managing a portfolio of multinational corporates, Global Development Organisation and Financial and Non-Financial Institutions. She has over 15 years working experience in the banking industry and a member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers-Ghana. Prior to her current role, Ellen was the Head of the SME Business (Barclays Ghana). She has several years experience as a Corporate Credit Manager and was also a Relationship Manager in charge of several Portfolios for over Seven years. Ellen holds an EMBA from GIMPA Business School, Diploma in Customer Relationship Management (IFS School of Finance, London) a Bsc in Agric Economics from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, a Diploma in Credit Skills training (IFS school of Finance London) and a Diploma in leadership from Duke Education.


GEORGE ODHIAMBO is the Head of Business Development and Client Services at KCB Bank Rwanda Ltd, where he is responsible for Corporate Banking, Custody Services and Retail Banking under which Agribusiness, SME, Mortgages, Products and Channels are key departments. Previously served as Head, Business Analytics & Transformation at KCB Bank Group (Kenya). George’s early career included Branch Manager at Standard Chartered Bank Kenya, Area Manager at Barclays Bank Kenya, before rising to Head, Business Analytics, East & West Africa at Barclays Africa. A graduate of the University of Nairobi in BSc Mathematical Statistics & MSc Pure Mathematics and Post Graduate Diploma graduate in Corporate Governance from KCA University, Kenya. He has 16 years’ experience in Commercial Banking.


SHAHANA PERVIN leads a business team in BRAC Bank Ltd.'s SME business division which finances agricultural businesses. Shahana's other role is to explore and develop new business opportunities & strategies in small business to enhance BRAC Bank Ltd's  market share in the banking industry.



ANTHONY TUOSEGMA POORE Managing Director, Agriaccess Limited. Anthony Tuosegma Poore, is an Accountant by training. He is a co-founder and Managing Director (MD), of Agriaccess Ghana Limited, an organization that produces, processes and supplies sorghum grains to Guinness Ghana Breweries Ltd. Since his assumption as MD in 2011, he has worked to establish Agriaccess Ghana Limited as the leading supplier of sorghum grains to Guinness Ghana Breweries Limited (GGBL) amongst seven other contracted suppliers. Driven by his passion for success, Anthony has led his company to achieve unprecedented supply volumes. The company currently supplies over 4,000mt in one supply period against an initial contracted volume of 300mt. 

ALVARO RIVERA is Special Projects Director at the Honduran Banking Association (AHIBA) where he has been involved in several financial inclusion and corporate social responsibility projects including working with different sectors to increase access to social housing, improving banking access for people with disabilities, the distribution of government subsidies via the Honduran Banking System and the Banking Association’s Strategic Plan for 2015-2016.  He holds a Master Degree in International Business from the University of Queensland, Australia and Bachelor Degree in International Business from Xavier University in Cincinnati , OH U.S.A. He is fluent in Spanish, English, French and intermediate level Polish.


MARCO ROSINI is Head Agriculture Africa Debt Financing at responsAbility Africa Ltd. Mr. Rosini has nearly 20 years’ professional experience in the banking industry. With a degree in Finance and Business Administration from the University of Venice, Italy, Mr. Rosini has Worked at Crédit Lyonnais (LCL), and served as director in the commodity finance department of Société Générale where he was in charge of structured transactions with soft commodities such as cotton, cocoa, coffee, sugar, and fertilizers, in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Currently Mr. Rosini coordinates and manages responsAbility’s approach to fair trade and sustainable agribusiness in Africa as well as related short- and long-term financing.


DIAKA D. SALL is Director of Lending at Root Capital.  She oversees lending operations in West Africa. Previously, she worked as a credit analyst and relationship manager with Citibank Senegal. She has also consulted for the World Bank, African Development Bank, and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in Cambodia. She holds an M.A. in applied economics from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a B.S. in agricultural economics from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.


MICHAEL TARAZI Michael leads CGAP’s work in financial innovation for smallholder families and overseas CGAP’s research on smallholder demand for financial services as well as CGAP’s efforts on digital finance in the smallholder context. He has formerly led CGAP’s efforts in the area of branchless banking regulation and has worked with regulators around the world in developing regulatory frameworks. He has also taught branchless banking at the Boulder Institute for Microfinance. He also was chosen as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and is a member of the Forum’s Dialogue Series on Access to Finance through Technology. He is a co-author of Serving Smallholder Farmers: Recent Developments in Digital Finance,  Putting the Banking in Branchless Banking, Regulating Banking Agents, Regulatory Approaches to Nonbank E-Money Issuers and Islamic Microfinance: An Emerging Market Niche. Prior to joining CGAP, Tarazi was a corporate attorney in private practice and served as the European General Counsel to a U.S. company providing finance-related technological services to developing countries. He also served as an advisor to Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. Tarazi holds a bachelor's degree from Harvard University and a law degree from Harvard Law School. He speaks English, Arabic, and French.


KASHIF UMAR THANVI is the General Manager and Head of Rural Banking at HBL, Pakistan. He started his career with Engro Corporation – a leading Pakistani conglomerate. He moved on to the banking industry in 2002. Before he joined HBL in 2007, he worked with Khushali Bank Limited and United Bank Limited. At HBL, Kashif has pioneered the transformation of HBL Rural Banking into a business model that is innovative, self-sustainable, and scalable. His active involvement with the State Bank of Pakistan has led to multiple initiatives such as prudential regulations for agricultural credit, crop loan insurance, livestock loan insurance, agricultural credit target estimation, and guidelines for various agriculture sub-sectors. He is a graduate in Science and has a post graduate degree in Business Administration from IBA, Karachi.  


SASISHAR THUMULURI is the Chief Operating Officer, Basix SubK I Transactions Ltd.  Mr. Thumuluri started his career at BASIX where he spearheaded new projects including innovative agri lending models. He rejoined the group and is currently responsible for day-to-day management of BASIX Sub-K, a company that serves unbanked rural households by leveraging mobile technology. Previously, at IFC South Asia he led agrifinance and SME finance advisory verticals. He also structured impact funds at Habitat for Humanity and managed financial inclusion investments at Microvest. Mr. Thumuluri earned Master in Public Affairs from Princeton University. He also holds an MBA and Bachelors in Agricultural sciences.  


ARNOLD TIJDENS carries more than 15 years of banking experience with Rabobank. He is an expert in agri value chain and trade finance and works since 2011 in Sub Sahara Africa respectively in Rwanda and currently in Uganda. In Rwanda he was responsible for implementing the Agrifin program for Bank Populaire du Rwanda. He currently works for Rabobank’s partner bank DFCU Bank in Uganda where he is heading the Agri Department.   


MAKIKO TOYODA is the Product Lead, Trade and Supply Chain Solutions, International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank Group, based in Washington, DC. She is in charge of agricultural finance projects in the emerging markets including value chain financing as well as inventory financing. Makiko has more than 22 years of international banking experiences having worked in Washington, Kazakhstan, London, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, and Tokyo. Prior to joining IFC in 2003, she worked for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) where she was in charge of warehouse receipts programs in CIS countries, and also for Industrial Bank of Japan (IBJ) where she was Deputy General Manager in the field of trade finance. Makiko holds a Master's degree from SAIS, Johns Hopkins University.   


REJI VARUGHESE is Vice President – Information Technology Initiatives - BASIX group of Companies. Reji leads the technology arm of Basix group of companies which has a cumulative business of Rs.45,000 million, spread over 3 million clients. Reji has been instrumental in design, development and implementation of Oracle could products, Mobile and POS based repayment systems and various other technology products catering to diverse needs of BASIX. He is responsible for delivery of IT consulting projects and handled technology assignments from World Bank, United National Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), SIDBI, DFID, National Bank of Ethiopia, Association of Ethiopian Microfinance Institutions (AEMFI) etc. Reji holds an MBA in Information Technology and Bachelors in Mathematics.  


MIKE WARMINGTON is Microfinance Partnerships Manager at One Acre Fund. He has more than 8 years experience in finance and microfinance and is leading the development of a department that engages with the microfinance sector to catalyze greater levels of lending to farmers across the globe. Mike was previously head of operations for Microloan Foundation, a tier 2 MFI operating in Malawi and Zambia. He also worked in structured finance for Dexia, a major European project finance bank, concentrating on UK infrastructure deals.





To review a list of speakers from the 2013 Forum, please click here.