November 2016
From the editor

Dear members,

Our November’s issue is dedicated to the topics of microinsurance and digital financial services. First highlight is a new study titled “The Landscape of Microinsurane in Sri Lanka, carried out by the Microinsurance Network and Munich Re Foundation and based on 2013-2016 data. This study is part of a series of microinsurance landscape studies which feed into the World Map of Microinsurance, an initiative mapping the landscape of microinsurance worldwide. According to recent data, there are currently 2.6 billion SIM cards in use across Asia, highlighting the huge potential for growth for microinsurance through this channel. TSP policies across Asia offer coverage for life, personal accident (PA) and health (hospital cash). However, product innovation remains a challenge with most of the microinsurance products having similar features: The majority are voluntary, include loyalty aspects, and are paid through airtime. This new Landscape Study provides important new information on opportunities for and challenges faced by microinsurance in Sri Lanka. With around 7% microinsur­ance penetration in the country, there is still much scope for growth in reaching the low-income population.

Second highlight is the CGAP Report “Designing Digital Financial Services for Smallholder Families”. This report presents the insight in how digital finance can work for smallholders. Digital tools offer great opportunities for the users, but cannot replace personal support, according to the new human centered design (HCD) research. Using human-centered design (HCD), CGAP and its partners found that in order for digital financial solutions to work for smallholders, financial service providers need to minimize the perceived risk of trying new technology and build personal support into financial products. Smallholders traditionally lack access to formal financial services and digital financial services are a logical and promising solution. However, smallholder farmers and their families face a number of challenges when it comes to discovering and using digital financial services, including poor mobile network connections, low penetration of mobile devices, and low rates of mobile literacy. For digital finance to work for these customers, the products and services must be tailored to their needs and combined with personal support. The research is based on the results from projects in Cambodia, Rwanda, Senegal and Zimbabwe.

Finally, the 5th World Congress on Rural and Agriculture Finance is organized by the African Rural and Agricultural Credit Association (AFRACA) in collaboration with other associations, and will be held in Dakar, Senegal from 24 to 25 November 2016. The forum is expected to bring together who is who in rural and agricultural finance and stakeholders around the globe to share experiences on emerging and cross cutting issues on the industry. One of the key objectives of the upcoming world congress is to show case best practices and innovations in rural and agricultural finance. For more information and registration, click here.

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: