Reading time:5 min read
My vision is to transform the narrative of commodities transactions in Africa’s market – Samuel Akame
Samuel Akame is an entrepreneurial sustainability professional who has made a name for himself championing upcycling and regenerative agriculture in the ecosystem. He was the second runner in the third edition of the Code Cash Crop ag-hackathon, where he built a solution, Credence, an end-to-end supply chain and financing network platform that connects and finances farmers and buyers and ensures fair prices and transparency in the agricultural market.
We caught up with Samuel to learn more about his platform after the ag-hackathon and his experience participating in Code Cash Crop.
So, let’s talk about why you decided to hop on board the CCC platform. What made you say, ‘Hey, this sounds like something I need to be a part of!”?
I saw an opportunity, and I leveraged it. AFEX has been one of the drivers for the commodities market in Africa and provides a platform for other innovative companies combating food insecurity. This was a good thing for me, I believed the Code Cash Crop will provide a platform for my work to gain exposure and recognition and potential investment or partnership opportunities. It was a good one.
All right let’s dig into the nitty-gritty of your solution at the CCC 3.0 ag-hackathon. What problem is that solution, Credence, tackling head-on?
My platform (Credence) is solving the problem of trust and transparency in the Nigerian agricultural commodities market. Buyers and sellers don't trust each other, which has been a significant impediment to the Nigerian agricultural commodities market. Digital solutions are not keeping up with the fast-paced industry. This lack of trust hinders the market's growth and increases the risk of fraud. Our company intends to address these issues by implementing a transparent system that uses smart escrow to protect commodity traders' interests.
I believe it’s always fascinating to learn how a platform like CCC can really shake things up and make a difference in our food systems. With your participation in the last edition, what impact did CCC have on my work?
Yes, it is a great platform. It became a window of opportunity to engage other relevant stakeholders in the industry and beyond. Networking opportunities, learned from informed individuals, and provisioned for opportunities beyond the CCC.
Following up on Last year’s event, how has your company innovated around tech and finance?
Over time, we have made significant progress by iteratively improving our model based on feedback from user testing with our focus group. We have also developed a functional web application allowing seamless transactions for farmers, commodity traders, and food companies. We have also engaged with relevant stakeholders in the agriculture industry to validate our transactions. We are unifying the essence of fintech in agribusiness. Additionally, we have partnered with some agro-commodity companies as their trusted payment gateway. While more work is still needed, we have progressed since the CCC 3.0 event.
Well, I am curious– have you hit any remarkable milestones with your business?
We have been able to validate some transactions and have also developed a functional web application that allows for seamless transactions. We have partnered with a financial institution to collect payments and obtain the necessary licenses. and engage with relevant stakeholders in the agriculture industry. Partnership discussions are underway with food companies, agricultural commodity companies, farmers’ networks, and co-operatives to facilitate more seamless transactions between their suppliers and them. provisioning them with opportunities to work closely with them and make successful trades. As well as working closely with stakeholders and markets in Northern Nigeria for trade facilitation.
What are the key challenges Nigerians face in accessing life-enhancing infrastructure development within the Agric - Sector?
One impending problem that is a bottleneck for the agricultural sector is poor transportation. I believe that a bigger reason there is price volatility in reference to some commodities is the poor road network, as this can lead to damaged commodities, theft, and other hazards that can affect supply and demand. In cases like this, supply is low, and demand, on the other hand, is high (in peak season). which in turn skyrockets the price. Many farmers and agribusinesses in Nigeria struggle to access financing for infrastructure, equipment, and other necessary inputs, which limits the growth and value optimization of value chains in the agricultural sector.
The policies that currently exist are not effective in addressing these challenges. Bottom-up and top-down approaches have failed to meet farmers’ needs, and unrealistic payment terms for loan programs further exacerbate the problem. Effective policies are needed to promote investment in infrastructure development, such as tax incentives for private sector investment or directing public funds towards building critical infrastructure like roads, storage facilities, inputs, trades, and irrigation systems. This can help address the limited access to finance and promote the growth and development of the agricultural sector in Nigeria.
Are there any initiatives your business is taking to enhance market-led solutions?
Credence works closely with farmer networks and agro cooperatives to provide them access to markets and transparent trading opportunities. This approach will encourage more financial engagement amongst stakeholders and re-working around making the unbanked farmers and agribusiness practitioners access a wider market and, most importantly, reducing the risk of transactions for them.
Where do you see your business in the next 3–5 years?
Looking forward to 2027, we are hopeful to change the narrative of commodities transactions in Africa’s commodities market by working closely with big commodities players like AFEX, SME commodity companies, traders, and farmers to provide Africa with a more efficient agribusiness environment.
What are your thoughts on the CCC, and would you recommend attending?
CCC is like a cool club where you can be an enthusiast and have your voice heard. It's not just a platform; it’s a window of opportunity for your business. And for recommendations, my LinkedIn networks should leverage this, and a couple of my buddies who are still studying at agribusiness masterclasses are like walking encyclopedias’ of agro knowledge. Don't be a wallflower, join the party and let's get down to business!