July 2015
From the editor

From the Editor,

We would like to start this very warm month, at least in Europe, with the hot topic of digital finance. Today’s challenge of agricultural finance is to provide cost effective financial services to rural smallholders with minimum risk and maximum accountability and transparency. In this regard, we would like to highlight the report of the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) titled Mobile Payments: How Digital Finance is Transforming Agriculture”. This report has been produced through primary research on agriculture mobile payments initiatives in Ghana, Uganda  and Zambia with the aim of understanding the potential of mobile finance for  the agricultural sector and how these barriers might be overcome. The research revealed that smallholders are an economically viable target market for mobile financial service and there have been identified three steps in the approach for replacing cash payments being made by large buyers to smallholders, with mobile payments. These steps are: (i) cash usage behavioural research (CUBeR); (ii) strategic alliance formation (StAF); and (iii) embedding mobile finance (EMoFi) into the value chain knowledge exchange and other interventions.

Second highlight is the research paper done by Center for Latin American Monetary Studies (CEMLA) on “Financial Inclusion in Latin America and the Caribbean: Access, Usage and Quality”. The paper presents an overview of financial inclusion in Latin America and the Caribbean, employing data for the three dimensions mentioned to outline a complete picture of their nature and characteristics in the region. This information is essential for identifying weaknesses in financial market development and serves as a basis for elaborating effective inclusion strategies. However, the levels of inclusion, in the region, in all its dimensions continue to be low, although with substantial differences among the economies. A considerable amount of the population continues to use the informal financial sector for making their transactions, particularly loans. Read the paper to find out more about the author’s conclusions and discussion of the most important results.

Finally, we invite you to sign in for the International Conference on the topic “Improving financial inclusion of smallholder farmers” to be held in Milan on October 15th and 16th, 2015. The event aims at promoting discussion among international experts and practitioners on the development of microfinance solutions for smallholder farmers. The conference is also associated to the Giordano Dell’Amore Microfinance Best Practices International Award whose winner will be announced during the event. For further information and conference registration, click here.

With best regards,

The RFILC team

We hope you enjoy your visit to the RFILC.

rfilc.org

The Rural Finance and Investment Learning Centre is a part of the CABFIN Partnership Project which aims to promote and facilitate capacity building in rural finance. The concerns of rural finance are to ensure that people living in rural areas have access to financial services such as deposit and money transfer facilities, insurance and loan products. Effective use of these services can help to improve livelihoods and reduce rural poverty. The following CABFIN Partners have provided financial support to the RFILC:

CABFIN PARTNERSHIP