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World Coffee Alliance (WCA) announces confirmed speakers at WCA CROSS TALK SERIES 2021 Virtual Event - "Digitalising Access to Coffee Finance: Where is the Beef?"

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LONDON, United Kingdom - World Coffee Alliance (WCA), a network alliance of coffee industry professionals producing critical insights including market research, due diligence reports and technical advice in the global coffee value chain will hold a Zoom virtual event WCA CROSS TALK SERIES – “Digitalising Access to Coffee Finance: Where is the Beef?” on Wednesday 24 February 2021, 3:00 pm – 5:30 pm GMT/10:00 am – 12:30 pm EST.

Joseph de Villiers, CEO and Founder, World Coffee Alliance (WCA) said “The gathering of these global leaders in the coffee industry including ICO, IACO, IWCA Global, FEDECAFE, and trusted brands like World Bank Group, IFC, Root Capital, IBM and Neumann Kaffee Gruppe (NKG), is by no means an easy feat. Given the importance of finance to the smallholder coffee farmers, I just hope that this online conversation will turn into something more concrete that will pave the way for global partnerships and more urgent actions. I am delighted to welcome Mastercard, GrainChain and Prof. Rocco Macchiavello (LSE) to lead this conversation which gives us the unique privilege in providing a neutral platform to talk about the interest of the smallholder farmer – who is at the heart of what we do as an alliance.”

Mastercard is a global technology leader in the payments industry. Laura Mackenzie, SVP Financial Inclusion and Global Consumer Product, will deliver the Keynote. “At Mastercard, we’re focused on building a more inclusive and sustainable digital economy through innovation and trusted partnership. Last year, we expanded our worldwide financial inclusion commitment pledging to bring a total of 1 billion people, 50 million micro and small businesses and 25 million women owned or led businesses into the digital economy by 2025. I am looking forward to joining the event and discussing how our digital payments technology can empower the smallholder coffee farmer”, she said.

GrainChain, a technology company that enables supply chain visibility, empowering suppliers and farmers while reducing risks to buyers, is the Episode Sponsor and will provide the Inspirational Talk. “Our mission has always been to help support farmers around the world, providing them the technology and tools to escape a cycle of debt and provide an opportunity to expand their operations,” said Luis Macias, CEO and Founder, GrainChain. “Small coffee producers suffer from a lack of trust and transparency that our solution provides, allowing them to receive quicker payments from buyers and gain better access to liquidity. Building an ecosystem that provides a maximum social impact, inclusion and security in the digital economy is what our solution is designed to do. It is a great pleasure to follow the Mastercard Keynote with an Inspirational Talk at the World Coffee Alliance (WCA) virtual event– an opportunity for us to showcase what we are doing for the coffee farming community and the industry overall. Our partnership with Mastercard to enable improved visibility along the supply chain makes it even more meaningful to be participating with them at the WCA CROSS TALK SERIES”, he added. 

There will be two panels, both moderated by Prof. Rocco Macchiavello from LSE. His extensive expertise and vast experience will provide an interesting background to this debate. “Events like WCA CROSS TALK SERIES can provide the needed dialogue to engender more collaborative effort in addressing some of the most important issues that the coffee industry now face”, he said.

Panel One will discuss “Designing eco-systems for the future of coffee finance”. Confirmed speakers on Panel One include Chris Brett, Lead Agribusiness Specialist, World Bank Group, Gerardo Patacconi, Head of Operations, International Coffee Organization (ICO), Juan Esteban Orduz, President, Colombian Coffee Federations Inc (North America) FEDECAFE, Peter Onguka, Head of lending, Africa, Root Capital, and Blanca Maria Castro, Chapter Relations Manager, IWCA Global. Panel Two will focus on “Harnessing potential benefits of Digital Innovation”. Confirmed speakers include Dr Panos Varangis, Principle Agriculture Finance Specialist, IFC, Catalina Eikenberg, Head of Sustainable Business Unit, Neumann Kaffee Gruppe (NKG), Anthony Day, Blockchain Partner, Global Business Services, IBM UK and Ireland and Dr Frederick KAWUMA, Secretary General, Inter-African Coffee Organisation (IACO) and Luis Macias, CEO and Founder, GrainChain.

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