York alumnus helps Ghana farmers flourish

harvester in a field with crops BANNER

By Elaine Smith

Moustapha Seck, an electrical and electronic engineering graduate from York University’s Lassonde School of Engineering, has created a company in Ghana that provides loans, market access and guidance to small-scale farmers in Ghana.

One of every two adult Ghanaians work as smallholder farmers, and many of them merely subsist, struggling to achieve profitably year after year. Seck created a company called Fluid Finance Technologies after identifying the need for those farmers to be able to obtain loans, despite their lack of collateral, to improve their businesses with more modern equipment and the latest agricultural knowledge, thus creating wealth for them. “There was a lot of education needed and lots of people have taken advantage of them, so their work was often a zero-sum game,” Seck says. “We wanted to turn that into a win-win situation.”  

Moustapha Seck
Moustapha Seck

Fluid Finance Technologies looks to create those scenarios by offering aid to smallholding farmers in Ghana and creating a bridge between them and the banking community so they can obtain business loans. Seck had no contacts in the banking industry as he was starting out, so it required a lot of cold calls and a lot of research and attending conferences to convince people that his company could be trusted. One bank got on board in 2022, and now Fluid Finance works with nine financial institutions in Ghana and about 6,000 farmers.

The company and its success is driven, in part, by Seck’s time at York University.

Seck was born in Canada and split his childhood between Senegal, his parents’ birthplace, and Canada, where his father taught finance at the University of Windsor. As he enrolled at York, Seck had a firm goal. “For me, it was all about studying something that would help me be an asset to the African continent,” he says.

Initially, that ambition took Seck on a different path than where he has ended up today. “In Senegal, there used to be a lot of power outages, so I thought an electrical engineering degree would help me fix that problem,” he says. Seck did pursue opportunities in that direction, like an internship at Hydro One and jobs with a startup venture and a technology company. That is, until an experience with a lender that helped e-commerce businesses get started got the wheels in his brain spinning with ideas.

“I see everything through the lens of creating opportunities in Africa,” he says. He saw value in how he might be able to help business in Africa get off the ground or achieve greater profitability. “So, I transitioned to finance and learned on the job.”

Now four years into existence, Fluid Finance Technologies assists banks with collecting and digitizing the information about farming they need to make decisions about providing loans to individual farmers. The company also brings in agronomy experts to teach farmers about appropriate fertilizers and new harvest methods and how to troubleshoot problems. In addition, Fluid has worked to ensure that farmers have fair and available markets for their crops. 

The result? Banks understand the needs of the local farmers and a willingness to work with them means new banking customers. Meanwhile, farmers get the financial, marketing and agricultural assistance they need to succeed and earn a living wage.     

Ghana Broadcasting Corp. featuring (l to r) Amir Asif, Prof. Solomon Boakye-Yiado and Moustapha Seck.
A Ghana Broadcasting Corp. segment featuring, from left to right, Amir Asif, Solomon Boakye-Yiado and Moustapha Seck.

Looking ahead, Seck hopes to expand the business to other African countries in the Global South. He is also thinking about how to provide farmers with markets on a global scale and trying to be proactive about climate change, “giving farmers access to resources ahead of time so they can withstand shocks.”

For Seck, it’s all about advancing a singular passion, one readily found on his LinkedIn page like a motto: “Creating opportunities for people in the Global South is my calling.”