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Participation in Africa Agri-Finance Forum (AAFF)

Grace Njoroge, a Fund Project Manager, attended the Africa Agri-Finance Forum (AAFF) at Laico Regency hotel in Nairobi, Kenya. The theme of the forum this year was ‘Innovations that will transform Africa Agri-Finance.’ The forum was attended by over 50 professionals in the agricultural finance space. Organizations that were represented included private companies, international finance institutions, development organizations, and private consultants among others. There was also a good mix of regional representation with attendees from Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Ethiopia.

The forum discussions revolved around challenges in agricultural financing, current status, trends, partnerships, financial products and services including the role of digital financial services in transforming agriculture in Africa.

Grace Njoroge shared insights on how the Fund is working with 38 participants in 15 Sub-Saharan countries to reduce the barriers of access to finance on the continent.

Some of the ways in which FRP participants are addressing the challenge of reaching the last-mile with financial products include:

  1. Leveraging linkages and partnerships in the design and delivery of rural finance solutions.
  2. Training to delivere holistic financial services to smallholder farmers and rural communities.
  3. Using digital platforms to enable easier roll out and access of financial services.
  4. Using big data to increasingly provide information on smallholders who previously had limited credit history.
  5. Bundling products, which either means offering more than one financial product, or combining a financial offering with a non-financial offering for cost benefit.

Various speakers were optimistic that rural finance space is looking promising despite challenges that exist. Some of the enablers that were highlighted include:

  1. Use of technology e.g. use of data to profile previously un/underserved populations and afford them access to financing
  2. Incorporating new approaches e.g. satellite and climate risk profiling that enable institutions to better understand the farms and weather patterns therefore mitigating risk.
  3. Using new approaches to financing initiatives such as blended finance that was discussed by both Convergence and AGRA as a useful mechanism to fund agri-finance projects
  4. Developing partnerships between various players was identified as key in serving the agri-finance market
  5. Participating in the digital transformation that will avail financial products at reduced costs, increased efficiency for providers and improved risk management.

One of the Fund participants, Dodore, represented by Vyonne Mingate, was part of the panel on Digital Finance Technologies.

Overall, the forum was very insightful with all presenters involved in interesting work in the space.

Click here to view the PowerPoint presentation made at the forum.

Article written by Grace Njoroge, Project Manager, Mastercard Foundation Fund for Rural Prosperity


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