May 2015
From the editor

From the Editor,

As we enter fully into spring time, this month we would like to bring to your attention the book “Finance for Food: Towards New Agricultural and Rural Finance”, which is the result of the KfW Symposium ”Finance for Food”. The book focuses on three main issues: first, on institutional and process innovations dealing with agricultural risk and the use of modern technology to improve financial services in rural areas. Second, it examines the distinct risks associated with agricultural finance and how to assess and mitigate them. Third, it focuses on possible distribution channels for reaching the rural poor with modern technology. This includes mobile banking as well as scoring to increase efficiency and outreach in agricultural finance.

The second highlight is the new CGIAR report on Scaling Up Index Insurance for Smallholder Farmers: Recent Evidence and Insights” that explores evidence from five case studies that have made significant progress in addressing the challenge of insuring poor smallholder farmers and pastoralists in the developing world. There are a few common features that appear within these case studies: i) explicitly targeting obstacles to improving farmer income; ii) integration of insurance with other development interventions; iii) giving farmers a voice in the design of products; iv) investing in local capacity; and v) investing in science-based index development. The purpose of this report is to inform the ongoing debate about the viability of scaling up index-based insurance for vulnerable smallholder farmers in the developing world  and it suggests the need to reassess arguments that lack of demand and practical implementation challenges prevent index-based insurance from being a useful tool to reduce rural poverty.

Finally, the World Economic Forum is organizing spring meeting in Cape Town, South Africa on June 4th, 2015 with the topic From aspiration to reality: universal financial access in Africa. The participants will discuss on advancing financial inclusion in Africa, for more information and registration, click here.

With best regards,

The RFILC 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: