March 2019
From the editor

Dear RFILC members,

In this edition of our newsletter, we would like to begin by presenting a study that focuses on the link between financial inclusion and more equitable access to water. For many low-income households in the developing world, incomes are highly variable and uncertain. This poses a multitude of challenges for these households and is often a significant barrier to accessing clean drinking water and safe and convenient sanitary facilities. In rural areas, incomes often vary even more because of the seasonality of agricultural markets, making it difficult for farmers to invest in irrigation for their fields. Therefore, our first highlight is a recent World Bank publication: “Fintech for the Water Sector”, which explores how financial technology (fintech) can support expansion of market-based solutions for water, sanitation, and irrigation, identifying several use cases where fintech is already being used to address financial inclusion and access to water. In addition, the study also examines how fintech can help water utilities serve low-income customers more effectively and assist small-scale service providers in growing their businesses.

Our second highlight is a brief from the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP), titled: “High-Saving Youth in Smallholder Households: An Untapped Market”. It is evident that digital financial services are becoming increasingly popular in rural areas of developing countries. However, the authors of the paper argue that efforts to promote mobile banking have failed to adequately reach younger individuals in smallholder families, who often have more savings than their more mature counterparts do. Instead of using mobile money, they rely on informal forms of savings, which can be risky and do not leave “financial footprints” that can unlock access to other financial tools.

The third highlight of this month is the European Microfinance Award 2019: “Strengthening Resilience to Climate Change”, which focuses on the crucial role of the financial inclusion sector in increasing the resilience of communities that are vulnerable to the effects of climate change. The Award seeks to highlight good practice and innovative interventions offering products and services capable of responding to clients’ vulnerability to climate change effectively and in a sustainable manner, thus driving economic, environmental and social benefits. The application timeline, details of eligibility, and more  information about the award can be found in the Explanatory Note that is published in English, French, and Spanish.

Finally, we would like to inform you that the 5th Edition of the Boulder Rural and Agricultural Finance Program (RAFP) will take place in Turin, Italy, at the International Training Centre of the International Labour Organisation (ITCILO), from July 22 to August 2, 2019. This program, developed by CABFIN (a collaborative partnership that includes IFAD, FAO, GIZ, UNCDF, WFP and the World Bank), offers highly specialized capacity building on rural and agricultural finance to experienced practitioners and institutions. The rationale of the program is to create a forum for participants to deeply reflect on their specific challenges, and share ideas and strategies on how to face the agricultural finance sector’s pressing issues, using new tools and a fresh perspective. The two week-immersion program offers a range of 14 elective courses to choose from, for a total 70 academic course hours. The programme will be delivered by the Boulder Faculty, a diverse group of internationally-recognized agrifinance experts, whose coursework will encompass a broad range of topics and viewpoints related to rural and agricultural finance.

With best regards,
The RFILC editorial team

We hope you enjoy your visit to the RFILC.

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: