Financial Services - Current Projects

INNOVATE | Adoption of Agricultural Innovations through Non-Traditional Financial Services

To achieve the second Sustainable Development Goal by 2030, “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture,” a large percentage of the 1.5 billion smallholder farmers in the world, responsible for half of the world’s food supply, will need to increase the productivity of their production systems. Many of these farmers, particularly women, are trapped in a vicious cycle of low productivity and low earnings that limit their capacity and willingness to adopt innovations.

Non-traditional finance can be an effective vehicle to incentivize the large-scale adoption of innovations among smallholder farmers. Non-traditional finance includes approaches, products and services that go beyond lending and saving services to engage with smallholder farmers, private investors and entrepreneurs, offering a broader range of bundled services. They are often nested within value chains, connect farmers to input and product markets, and involve multi-party interactions over long periods of time. Non-traditional financial products and serviced are offered by entities other than a ‘financial intermediary’, eliminating finance provided by a commercial bank or other traditional financial institutions.

INNOVATE will assess the potential of non-traditional finance to enable large scale adoption of agricultural innovations among women and men smallholder farmers in South Asia, Latin America (the Andes) and East Africa. The project aims to identify and share experiences in which non-traditional financial products/services have effectively leveraged innovation among women and men smallholder farmers.


Project Quick Facts

Project Goal: To assess the potential of non-traditional financial services to enable large scale adoption of agricultural innovations among men and women smallholder farmers in South Asia, Latin America (the Andes) and East Africa and use the lessons to inform policy making and programming on agricultural development.

Funding: The International Development Research Centre and MEDA

Project length: 2017 - 2020

Uganda | MicroLead

In the past, microfinance institutions (MFIs) have focused largely on providing loans to their clients. However, MFIs are often criticized for their high interest rates and lack of other financial services such as savings accounts or insurance. Local governments, MFIs and not for profit organizations like MEDA are working to establish a set of microfinance best practices including the regulation of some MFIs as deposit-taking institutions. The benefits of this are two-fold: clients have a safe place to save their money and are offered reduced interest rates on loans.

Continue Reading

Zambia | Financial Sector Deepening Zambia (FSDZ)

Electronic payments (e-payments) are transactions that occur without cash through a debit or prepaid card, a voucher, a mobile phone, or through an electronic-funds transfer (EFT). E-payments increase access to formal ways of saving and sending money, thereby reducing the risk of loss or theft of cash and increasing the ability for individuals to plan and save for the future. Individuals without bank accounts often do have access to mobile phones.

Continue Reading