Mercy Corps, MasterCard Foundation Launch Program to Boost Access to Financial, Informational Services for Smallholder Farmers in Kenya
Monday, November 30, 2015
New AgriFin Accelerate initiative to address barriers to access and use of financial services, especially for young women and youth.
Mercy Corps, in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation, today launched a new program to help close the gap in access to financial and informational services experienced by smallholder farmers, especially women and youth, in Kenya. The program is part of a broader, US$25 million three-country, six-year initiative supported by The MasterCard Foundation which is expected to benefit one million smallholder farmers. Other countries involved are Tanzania and Zambia.
Global demand for agricultural financing, valued at US$450 billion, largely remains unmet. In Kenya, where more than 75% of the population derives its livelihood from agriculture-related activities, this statistic represents a tremendous opportunity for financial services providers to contribute to improving access and raising farmers’ productivity.
“At The MasterCard Foundation, we believe that transformational impact in Africa can come from enabling farmers, among others, to access appropriate financial services, skills and markets. Our support to the AgriFin Accelerate Program will contribute to improved incomes and the diversification of rural economies in the three countries,” said Mark Wensley, Senior Program Manager, Financial Inclusion at the Foundation.
Kenya has been dubbed Africa’s “Silicon Savannah” as it currently leads the region in digital technology innovations, chief among which is mobile money transfer. Mobile money has increased access for millions of previously unbanked and underbanked people in Kenya and globally, making it a key enabler of financial inclusion.
AgriFin Accelerate will collaborate with diverse actors in the smallholder farmers’ ecosystem to understand the barriers to their access and use of digital financial and informational services, and develop appropriate solutions.