Financial Services

Accelerating Agent Network Growth: 9 Lessons from the New Model in Zambia

Financial Sector Deepening Zambia (FSDZ) is a DFID-funded programme established in September 2013 with the sole mandate of increasing financial inclusion in Zambia. FSDZ utilises the Making Markets Work for the Poor (M4P) approach to partner with financial service providers that are able and willing to increase the number of households and enterprises accessing financial services. FSDZ’s overall strategy is to take the role of a facilitator that promotes enduring and sustainable change in the financial market system. MEDA, as a subcontractor, is providing consulting services for the digital financial services area of focus, working closing with two partners, Zoona Zambia, a digital payments service provider, and AB Bank Zambia, a commercial bank, helping to facilitate the expansion of financial services using the mobile money channel and agent network.

Jennifer Ferreri, Senior Project Manager/Consultant, wrote this blog on her work in Zambia and some lessons learned from Zoona's Aggregator Model experience.

Applying Mobile Technology to Improve Business Models in Tanzania and Zambia

Applying Mobile Technology to Improve Business Models in Tanzania and Zambia
This FIELD Brief illustrates the lessons learned through the application of technology to improve business models in two MEDA supported initiatives: mobile vouchers for agriculture in Zambia, and mobile vouchers for bed-net distribution in Tanzania. Both efforts demonstrated how supporting private sector partners to leverage mobile technology can create sustainable business models and products that reach the poor.

This "FIELD Brief" is the twentieth in a series produced by the FIELD-Support LWA Program. This brief discusses how mobile technology can used to improve business processes and supply chain management to reach more people and increase development outcomes. This FIELD Brief was written by Chrissy Martin and Sashi Selvendran from Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA).

Beneficiary Projects 2011-2014 - Technology Linkages for Sustainable Agriculture

Beneficiary Projects 2011-2014 - Technology Linkages for Sustainable Agriculture
Throughout the developing world, small farmers face numerous challenges in accessing affordable and appropriate agriculture technology needed to improve their farm productivity and increase their incomes – seeds, fertilizers, irrigation systems, and improved production practices, to name a few. At the same time, the majority of agriculture technology providers caters to the medium and large farmer market segment, believing that small farmers cannot afford to buy such products. It is this gap in demand and supply of agriculture technology that Techno-Links aims to overcome.

Contextualizing Innovation: Technology-Enabled Microfinance in Haiti, Nicaragua, and Zambia

Contextualizing Innovation: Technology-Enabled Microfinance in Haiti, Nicaragua, and Zambia
This Branchless Banking Brief summarizes the opportunities, challenges and lessons learned of 3 of MEDA's partner MFIs and highlights practical experiences in the implementation of technology for inclusive financial services.

Development and the Private Sector - What Works? Learnings from MEDA's Techno Links Project

Development and the Private Sector - What Works? Learnings from MEDA's Techno Links Project
MEDA's Techno-Links project is working with 22 private sector partners in three countries to develop commercial solutions to problems of access in the financial and agriculture sectors. With a goal of reaching over 200,000 poor households and smallholder farmers with improved access to financial services and agricultural technologies, the project needed to find creative ways of encouraging the private sector to engage in markets where they are normally reluctant to extend their service capacity. This brief outlines our key learnings on effective private sector engagement for development, based on the experience of the Techno-Links project to date.

Inclusive Rural and Agricultural Finance MEDA's Experiences, Approaches and Strategies

Inclusive Rural and Agricultural Finance MEDA's Experiences, Approaches and Strategies

One of the world’s most under-utilized resources is the land, labor and skills of the rural poor. And yet, more than a billion people live at the margins of survival on less than $1 per day, three quarters of them in rural areas. A similar share of the world’s population suffers from malnutrition. Where is
the disconnect?

Despite their resourcefulness and resilience, the rural poor most often lack access to markets, capital and knowledge that they need in order to make their land and labor truly productive. This booklet outlines what MEDA has done about this, and our experience that we are eager to share with others who truly care about the plight of the rural poor.

Most of these opportunities for the rural poor do not begin with access to capital. Access to a new market, improved crops, or better technologies are usually at the forefront. However, all too often these opportunities do not reach fruition because no one is willing to invest in rural finance. Today, the majority of microfinance providers still focus on urban areas.

It is our hope that this booklet will begin to change that reality – opening new possibilities for rural and agricultural finance – so the rural poor can realize their true potential.

PLP in Strategic Alliances for Financial Services and Market Linkages Launches

PLP in Strategic Alliances for Financial Services and Market Linkages Launches
Turin, Italy – On May 9-13, 2005, The SEEP Network launched its Practitioner Learning Program (PLP) in Turin, Italy. This initial “start-up” PLP round focuses on different methods to help farmers and micro and small enterprises in rural areas gain access to finance for value chain upgrading. Strategic alliances within key value chains between rural financial institutions, market development facilitators, service providers, and value chain actors may be one promising way to make this happen.

Techno-Links Brochure

Techno-Links Brochure
Rural men and women in Peru, Nicaragua and Zambia are often isolated and marginalized, living in unserviced remote areas. MEDA’s Techno-Links project will help small farmers and enterprises rise out of poverty by helping them to adopt new technologies and by promoting branchless banking services to help improve their productivity and livelihoods.

The Missing Link in the Value Chain - Financing for Rural Farmers and Microentrepreneurs

The Missing Link in the Value Chain - Financing for Rural Farmers and Microentrepreneurs

Pushing the frontiers of micro- and small-enterprise interventions to rural areas is the current focus of many organizations. These kinds of projects are attracting the
attention of donors and practitioners alike. In the microfinance field, innovations are being tested and replicated to increase the access of rural clients to financial
services on a sustainable basis. In the enterprise development/business development services (BDS) field, new approaches for facilitating market opportunities and
linkages for rural enterprises and farmers in weak markets are beginning to emerge.

This round of PLP grants responds to the growing interest in reaching rural markets from both a microfinance and enterprise development perspective. By drawing lessons and expertise from these two technical areas, the strategic alliance project will explore different methods for facilitating financing for rural farmers and microentrepreneurs in order to upgrade in different value chains for rural products.

The principal issue that the project will address is whether strategic alliances and partnerships between rural financial institutions, market development facilitators, service providers, value-chain actors and micro and small enterprises (MSEs) can increase access to financial services in rural areas. By facilitating such access, this PLP ultimately seeks to explore and document models that assist MSEs to take advantage of potential market opportunities to upgrade the value chains in which they operate.

The seven projects funded by PLP grants can be categorized into two groups. The first group is comprised of financial institutions that will form strategic alliances
with a service provider or value-chain actor(s). As a result of these alliances, the financial institution will directly provide financial services to rural MSEs and farmers. In some cases, the strategic alliance will enable a value-chain actor to provide better or improved financial services through established business relationships.

The second group of projects is comprised of market development facilitators that will assist other actors to improve rural access to financial services. In some cases, these facilitators will work with rural financial institutions and value-chain actors to jointly develop suitable financial products that can leverage the value chain of local rural products. In other projects, they will work to stimulate a service market that supports financial institutions in a commercial manner.

The organizing principle behind the learning framework for this project was to have the participants jointly identify the steps needed to facilitate rural access to financing. These steps are categorized into four project milestones: market assessment; selecting partners and structuring strategic alliances; implementing solutions; and exit strategy and replication. These milestones will serve as the basis for peer learning and guide the participants in documenting lessons and findings throughout the project.

The main purpose of this paper is to articulate the learning framework for the PLP project in greater detail. This project creates a space for practitioners to meet and share their knowledge. Using tested knowledge sharing and learning tools, it will begin to answer questions that are relevant to practitioners and the broader industries of microfinance and small and microenterprise development. By addressing the challenge of enhancing the access of rural farmers and microentrepreneurs to financial services, the project hopes to identify effective, replicable practices and innovations for upgrading the value chains of rural products. Equally important, the project also seeks to identify practitioner approaches that require adjustment, as well as mistakes that should be avoided in practice.