We present the profiles of some AFRACA member institutions. This is only a brief write-up and is by no means an exhaustive account of achievements of the institutions that are featured. For more details or one on one contact with the member institutions, readers may wish to visit the relevant websites and/or contact the AFRACA secretariat for further guidance.
Reliance Financial Services Company Limited (Reliance) is a non-bank financial institution, founded on the principles of professionalism, socio business ethics, integrity and transparency to all stakeholders and strongly upholds the values of good corporate governance. Reliance is a very active member of the AFRACA and has been participating in the networks events and activities for many issues. The Institution was granted a full licence by The Central Bank of The Gambia in December 2006, to operate as a Non-Bank Financial Institution. Thus, the institution undertakes non-bank financial intermediation by raising deposits and advancing loans from/to the public.
Reliance formally opened her doors to the public on 19th December 2006 as a soft launch of her operations. Reliance is The Gambia’s fifth non-bank financial institution (NBFI), founded and managed by three Gambians. Reliance is licensed and regulated by the Central Bank under the Central Bank of The Gambia (CBG) Act No.14 of 2005 on 11th December 2006 and commenced operation on 19th December 2006. The licence allows Reliance to mobilize deposits from the public and provide credit services to micro, small and medium businesses as well as private individuals. The company delivered its first full year profits in December 2010 of GMD3.1 million (USD112,000) and in 2011 posted profits of GMD3.6 million (USD130,000). The original shareholders of Reliance were ShoreCap International and Stitchting Triodos Does private equity investors with 82% of the shareholding, 6 private local individuals with 11% and three founders owning 7%. In the second quarter of 2007, Reliance was granted a Foreign Exchange License by the CBG to trade in currencies, mainly in USD, GBP, EUR and CFA. In furtherance of this objective, Reliance was appointed on 3 September 2007 by Western Union as its fourth direct agent in The Gambia. This extended Reliance’s services to International and Domestic Remittances. In 2011, Reliance added Money Express and RIA to its network of international and global remittances organizations thus enhancing its remittances capability in The Gambia.
Reliance’s mandate is to democratize financial services, to make financial products widely and easily accessible to all Gambians, irrespective of their socio-economic status and geographic locations. Reliance is a triple bottom line institution, with profitability and development impact and preserving and protecting the environment playing complementing roles in achieving its mission. Reliance offers a full range of services and has a core focus on serving micro and small businesses.
Reliance serves its target segments through innovative delivery channels. In addition to its core branches and agencies, Reliance employs direct sales agents and deployed kiosks to expand outreach into its communities. The kiosks are manned by one or two employees at a time, which enables Reliance to reach out to its customers, and provide easy access and convenience at minimal operating costs. Reliance’s strategic intention is to “take financial
services to the customers” given the fact that its customers are scattered in different commercial locations and often feel uncomfortable doing business outside their communities.
Gambia is not a large country, which made the impact of Reliance’s entrance much greater than would be possible in most other countries. In most African countries, starting a new microfinance institution would have a relatively localized impact. However, in The Gambia, Reliance was able to transform the entire market within less than four years of starting its operations. Reliance has been operational since December 2006 and, despite the relatively short time period, has become the market leader in the microfinance sector. Our Regular Savings Account product
was acknowledged by The President during the 22nd July 2008 Celebrations due to its popularity with the average Gambian folk.
In 2007, Reliance also received three awards from the Local Chamber of Commerce out of six categories namely: Business Person of the Year, Young Entrepreneur of the Year and SME of the year.
The National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Services (NAERLS)
NAERLS became a member of the AFRACA network in 2011, and the research and extension institution brought with it much needed experiences in practical research and extension. Indeed, the presence of NAERLS in AFRACA is expected to add onto the list of benefits that members can access from the networking and partnership opportunities this institution provides.
The National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Services, of the Ahmadu Bello University (NAERLS/
ABU), is one of the Research Institutes supported by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
The Institute is charged with the primary responsibility of research, development, collation, evaluation and dissemination of agricultural technologies to rural farm families and other interested end-users.
Legendary Special Support Service Delivery to Practitioners in Agriculture in Nigeria.
Agriculture is the oldest profession on earth that deals directly with the sustenance of life for mankind. Owing to increasing population and the need for increased food, fibre and animal production, there came also the need for agricultural extension research, as well as its cognate extension support services, without which the impact of research would not be felt.
Agricultural extension services are, therefore, intended to play a major role in the agricultural development of any country, if that country is to attain self-food sufficiency/security and industrial development. The above informed the establishment of National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Services (NAERLS) in Northern Nigeria in 1963. From a humble beginning as a Research and Liaison Section (RLS) of the Northern Regional
Institute for Agricultural Research, NAERLS grew up, with time, as a result of the recognition of the important role it needed to play, and which role it started to play in the agricultural development of the Northern Region first; the ten Northern states later, and currently the entire country in general. NAERLS became an autonomous institute in 1975 and in 1989, was given a national mandate to cover the entire country. After 37 years of ever evolving responsibilities in the business of specialist support services, the institute is one of the Agriculture-based Research Institutes (NARIs) in Nigeria and has highly trained personnel and developed facilities to effectively extension research, coordinate, regulate and monitor services delivery and provide specialist support to rural and other public and private institutions across the country.
Today, NAERLS is one of the federal parastatals of Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) where the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN) supervises its research activities along with other agric research organizations, colleges of agric, etc. Also, NAERLS is among the three agricultural research institutes that are part of Nigerian University system.
Others include the IAR (Samaru) NAPRI (Shika) all of which are under the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, this relationship implies that although the institute receives most of its funding from FMARD, its staffs are employees of ABU, Zaria and fully participate in teaching and supervision of both post and under graduate students in the relevant academic departments and faculties. Our deliverable and performance indicators such as annual work plans, annual reports, completed research reports, and extension print audio and video materials, documentaries etc are published on our website (www.naerls.gov.ng) which can always be access.
• Advance the frontiers of extension Research and Services
• Conduct agricultural Performance assessment and provide
• Build the capacity and skill of key actors for effective
• extension service
• Plan, coordinate, monitor and evaluate REFILS activities
• Package and disseminate improved agricultural innovations
• Review and support extension activities of other agric
• research Institutes
The Institute’s research, extension, training, outreach and other
professional/consultancy activities are carried out in four (4)
research programs, three (3) programs and two (2) business
outfits: extension training and outreach programme areas.
1. Research Programmes
a. Agricultural Performance and Evaluation
b. Agricultural Extension Researches
c. Agricultural Economics, Policy and Resource Management
d. Agricultural Communication Research
2. Extension Training and Outreach Programmes
a. Agricultural Extension Training and Outreach
b. Library Documentation and Information Resources
c. Skill Acquisition and Development Center
3. Business Outfits
a. NAERLS Suites and Conference Center Ltd
b. NAERLS Printing Press Ltd
c. NAERLS Radio and TV Studios
Linkage with University System
The academic staffs of the institute also participate in active teaching and supervision of post graduate and undergraduate students in the over 25 academic departments in Faculties of Agriculture, Veterinary Medicine, Engineering, Arts and Social Sciences in Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria as well as in the Colleges of Agriculture located at Samaru (Mechanization, Agric Extension, Farm Management) at Kabba (Horticulture, Food Science, Home Management) and at Mando-Kaduna (Animal Health, Range Management, Fisheries, Animal Husbandry) all of which are part of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. Staff of the institute further participates in external and internal examinations of various degrees and assessment of professorial cadres in the country’s university system.
The institute accepts students from agric-based tertiary institutions on industrial attachment for hands-on-the-job training and exposure to the realities of the courses they are studying especially the skill aspects to develop entrepreneurs.
Successful Promotion and Campaigns on Agriculture
The institute led in the design and successful implementation of nationwide promotion and/or creating awareness campaigns on various agricultural policies, new innovations, improved practices, etc. considered critical for the development and growth of the agric sector. The followings are some examples over a period of 35 years:
• Operation Feed the Nation,
• Use of inorganic chemical fertilizers,
• Use of tractors for land tillage and stationary farm
• Use of chemical herbicides, fungicides, insecticides
• for crop protection,
• Green Revolution Programme,
• National Accelerated Industrial Crop Production Programme,
• Bee keeping and Honey Production,
• Grape and appeal Fruits Production enterprise,
• Cultivation and Use of Hybrid and Quality Protein Maize,
• Poultry and fish production enterprises