Supporting Farmers and Food Systems: How Crowdfunding Can Address Funding Challenges for Agricultural SMEs in Africa
Agriculture employs over 70% of the working population in Africa, making it a cornerstone of the continent's economic progress and livelihood development. But as Esther Mweru and Jerry Sellanga at 2SCALE explain, the financial strain of COVID-19 — combined with previously existing market inefficiencies — is putting many vulnerable farmers and agricultural small and medium enterprises (SMEs) at risk. They explore how crowdfunding can provide a financial lifeline to these smallholders and businesses, and discuss how 2SCALE is using it to support agribusinesses in Mali, Nigeria and Kenya.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made one thing clear: Digital innovation in service delivery and infrastructure is critical to economic inclusion – both in emerging markets and around the world. But as Tilman Ehrbeck at Flourish Ventures points out, the crisis has also provided a humble reminder that digital infrastructure, private-sector innovation and market-based solutions are not sufficient to ensure broad-based prosperity. He shares three observations, rooted in the experiences of the pandemic, about the value — and limitations — of private-sector approaches in a post-COVID-19 world.
CapitalSage Technology Limited's expansion is mostly driven by their agenda to provide sustainable and inclusive digital financial infrastructure.
- Sub-Saharan Africa
Financial Inclusion During – And After – COVID-19: The 2021 Compass Survey Reveals the True Scale of the Challenges Ahead
COVID-19 has upended the global financial inclusion sector, causing immense new challenges for low-income clients, their households and businesses, providers, funders, and the broader ecosystem. The full extent of this impact won't be seen until the pandemic fully subsides, but trends are emerging. Sam Mendelson at e-MFP shares findings from the organization's most recent Financial Inclusion Compass survey, which asked a broad cross-section of stakeholders where they see these increasingly complex issues trending — and what they’d like to see in the future.
Opportunity or Threat: Are Healthy Partnerships Possible Between Digital Financial Services and Microfinance Institutions in Bangladesh?
Microfinance institutions in Bangladesh reach over 32 million customers with a loan portfolio of around US $9 billion. According to Jakirul Islam at Bank Asia, partnerships with digital financial services (DFS) could benefit both microfinance and DFS providers and their customers – but these partnerships are not functioning at their full potential. He shares four key benefits that are driving interest in these collaborations, and explores their inherent challenges – and some partnership models that could address them.
Impact Investing in Financial Inclusion in Southeast Asia: Four Key Considerations for Investors and Enterprises
Southeast Asian nations are seeing movement toward greater financial inclusion, but this growth, fueled mostly by digital innovations, is not enough to meet customer needs, say Komal Sahu and Danielle Todesco of AVPN. They share four key considerations that investors and enterprises can take into account to promote interoperability, financial literacy and product accessibility while boosting financial access in the region.
Nigeria-based credit-led neobank FairMoney, which aims to give underbanked people access to digital financial services, is pursuing an emerging markets strategy and recently launched in India.
- Asia Pacific
COVID-19 Is Showing Small Businesses the Benefits of Digital Financial Services: Here Are Three Ways Providers Can Use Data to Better Serve Them
Digital access to financial services has been growing in recent years, but COVID-19 has made it all the more necessary. BancoSol, a commercial bank serving 1.5 million Bolivian microentrepreneurs, saw its digital transactions rising over the last year and wanted to extend this trend beyond the pandemic — but it wasn't sure how. Kathleen Yaworsky at Accion and Aaron Lewin at Mastercard discuss how their organizations are supporting BancoSol through data-driven insights, and share three steps microfinance institutions can take to better serve the needs of their micro and small business customers.