Rabo contributes to increasing access to finance in Andhra Pradesh - India
Rabo International Advisory Services (RIAS) – a subsidiary of Rabo Development- signed a 3 year Technical Cooperation Agreement with Andhra Pradesh State Cooperative Bank (APCOB) on the 20th of November at Hyderabad, India.
While the project will be executed by RIAS, in many aspects the signing marks the start of a wider partnership between APCOB and Rabobank, as both Rabobank India and Rabobank Foundation strongly support the cooperation, and have played an important role in structuring the project. During the signing ceremony Mr. Gerard van Empel (Managing Director, RIAS) signed on behalf of RIAS. Mr. Jeroen Nijsen – CEO Rabobank Asia, and Surojit Shome – CEO Rabobank India, attended the ceremony on behalf of Rabo.
Andhra Pradesh is predominantly an agricultural state with about 70% of the 84 million inhabitants depending in one way or the other on agriculture. In recent years the rural cooperative networks in India have been recapitalized, and put more at arms lengths of government interference simultaneously strengthening membership involvement and influence. The cooperative network in Andhra Pradesh has been a frontrunner in this process.
APCOB now wants to take the next step by becoming a market- and customer-oriented, modernised banking network. It already heavily invests in Human resources, IT, and is expanding its ATM network. APCOB has developed a clear vision on increasing access to finance, meeting the needs of rural people for banking services, specifically keeping the interest of the agricultural sector at hand – and has requested Rabobank’s support to realize this in a controlled manner.
The project therefore provides an unique opportunity to create a sustainable client-oriented cooperative bank in the State of Andhra Pradesh. Currently APCOB serves about 4.3 million members through its wide network over 3,400 offices. It has the potential to reach out even further to the vast majority of the population in the State. The project is designed to support this in an efficient and controlled manner.
The project has been conceptualized jointly by APCOB and RIAS with support of the International Finance Cooperation (IFC). The budget is provided by APCOB, IFC and Rabobank Foundation. It is foreseen that two long term experts will be based in Hyderabad for the duration of the project.