Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (‘Ecobank’ or ‘the Group’) has signed a memorandum of understanding (‘MOU’) with eleni LLC (‘eleni’), the leading proponent and developer of commodity exchanges in Africa, with a view to establishing a cooperative framework to promote and accelerate the development of Africa’s agriculture. Mr. Albert Essien, Ecobank’s Group Chief Executive, and Dr. Eleni Gabre-Madhin, chief executive officer of eleni, signed the MOU at an official ceremony held during the AfDB’s Annual General Meeting in Kigali today.
Dr. Gabre-Madhin, a globally recognized thought leader in Africa’s development, is the former founder and CEO of the acclaimed Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX), which has garnered various international awards and plaudits, including the Africa Investor Agriculture Initiative of the Year in 2011 and, a first in Africa, the CIO award for IT excellence in business. eleni LLC, established with co-founders Keith Thomas and Jawad Ali, is the only proven pioneer building commodity exchanges for frontier markets in Africa, with a demonstrated impact on the livelihoods of millions of smallholder farmers in Ethiopia.
The partnership between Ecobank and eleni aims to realize a shared vision of transforming Africa’s competitiveness in global commodity markets, enhancing value addition and processing in the domestic economy and enhancing food security. The partnership builds on the synergies between Ecobank’s unrivalled pan-African presence and its commitment to financial inclusion and eleni’s successful track record of creating and operating commodity exchanges in Africa, with projects in Ghana, Cameroon, Mozambique, and Nigeria. Ecobank recently announced that it was a keystone investor in the establishment of the Ghana Commodity Exchange (GCX), eleni’s first major foray in West Africa.
“As well as increasing market transparency and reducing transaction costs, commodity exchanges play a crucial role in the monitoring and assessment of risk,” commented Albert Essien, Ecobank’s Group CEO. “Instruments such as warehouse receipts reduce uncertainty and improve access to finance across the value chain. We look forward to collaborating further with eleni to enhance Africa’s agricultural financing capabilities.”
“We are very excited to be working with one of Africa’s leading financial institutions, with a solid pan-African focus, as this opens up a tremendous opportunity to establish the leading platform for commodity-related payments and transactions across the continent,” concluded Dr. Eleni Gabre-Madhin.