Country studies

In this topic you will find case studies of rural and micro finance sectors in different countries and regions. They are interesting in themselves and many also provide insights and draw conclusions that are relevant to other situations.

Library Resources

resource title type year resource
Exploring Community-Based Financing Schemes to Finance Social Protection Paper 2020

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This resource appears in: Rural Financial Services, Insurance, Country studies, Asia and Pacific

Social protection, especially health care systems for the poor, is essential to reduce inequality.

Health-related shocks, such as death or severe sickness, can affect households’ budgets significantly and create serious household trauma, leading to higher possibilities of them falling into poverty traps. The main challenge of social protection is improving coverage to provide services to people in rural and resource-poor environments. Microfinance health-related services, such as community-based health insurance, are expected to fill the gap. However, this concept also faces many challenges, including sustainability, governance, a lack of data, and a lack of capable human resources to manage it. On the other hand, the fast development of financial technology has raised the development of the crowdfunding platform for medical services. However, this concept only finances the medical expenses of people with a serious disease whom insurance or research for new medicine or treatment do not cover.

The paper will explore new and innovative ways of financing social protection, especially to improve access to health care services for poor and marginalized communities. Taking advantage of the development of financial technology and looking at how we can address the failures of community-based forms of health insurance, it will connect the sustainable financing concept, such as hometown investment trusts (HTITs) and crowdfunding, with community-based forms of health insurance. This paper will propose two models: (1) the two-step HTIT health insurance model; and (2) the integrated HTIT health insurance model.

Author Naoyuki Yoshino, Nella Sri Hendriyetty, and Erica Paula Sioson
Publisher Asian Development Bank Institute
Number of Pages 24
Primary Language English (en)
Region / Country Global, Asia
Keywords community-based health insurance, crowdfunding, hometown investment trust fund
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Lay-away for agricultural inputs--A digital solution from Tanzania Technical Note 2020 English (en)

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This resource appears in: Rural Financial Services, Savings and deposits, Technology and outreach, Country studies, Africa

The expansion of mobile payments in sub-Saharan Africa has been at the forefront of the global increase in mobile account ownership. However, account usage remains a challenge in the region as elsewhere. This learning paper documents the Grameen Foundation (US) and Positive International Ltd’s value proposition for the use of digital savings tools for smallholders in Tanzania.

The project provided the opportunity to test how far agriculture households are willing to save for short term goals such as input purchases, and whether or not flexible layaway schemes can substitute conventional savings or credit products to meet financial needs in a timely and cost-effective manner.

Credit constrained farmers often choose not to buy inputs such as seeds and fertilizers or purchase poor quality inputs. While suppliers such as agrodealers are willing to provide inputs on credit, they have limited cash flows at their level and formal financial access is sometimes as difficult for suppliers as it is for smallholders. Another issue is the value proposition of inputs themselves – these need to be of good quality and applied at the right time and quantity for producers to see the kinds of productivity gain that would justify an ongoing investment on their part.

In this context a range of agribusiness are currently testing digital tools that can help build awareness on the appropriate use of inputs as also test savings models for input purchases. These agribusiness like Positive see digital tools as an important driver for input sales. The digital tool for input financing (DIFT) tested by Positive International and Grameen has four key focus areas: a crop investment plan to guide farmers on the best quality inputs, time and quantity of application in relation to their crops and land sizes/ condition; a flexible layaway program suited to farmer needs that allowed them to save up any amount, at any frequency for inputs; the timely purchase and delivery of the inputs to the smallholder farmers and agronomic training through the platform.

One key innovation in this project which was valued by farmers is the utilization of a savings-based approach with flexibility of payment size and frequency. However, following the launch of the pilot toolkit a significant amount of work and time was needed to build trust in the savings service, ensure market coordination between the distributor and agro-dealers and adapt the technology to the variety of crops and inputs needed by different farmers.

A general lesson learned is the need for building longer periods into the project timelines and ramp-up of agriculture and digital finance pilots because of the amount of time taken before customers recognize and trust a digital savings service. Additionally, because the layaway was intrinsically linked to the inputs delivery system – the timeliness and selection of inputs on offer made a significant different to customer use and retention. 

Document  -  English (en)

Publisher Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)
Number of Pages 16
Primary Language English (en)
Region / Country Global, Africa
Keywords mobile payments, agriculture household, saving for purchase, Tanzania
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Key Facts Statements For Credit: Do They Work? The Experience of Armenia Case Study 2020

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This resource appears in: Policy Advice, Country studies, Prudential regulation

Rapidly developing digital credit products and aggressive credit sales have impelled financial authorities to help financial consumers make more informed and effective credit decisions. One of the tools many countries are using is Key Facts Statements (KFSs), which aim to improve financial decisions in the pre-contract stage of the credit process and to promote healthy competition among financial institutions.

However, many authorities want to know: do Key Facts Statements work?

This research shows that a KFS can have a significant positive effect on consumer credit choice and comprehension if the timing, content, design and delivery methods are appropriate and effective.

The study combines qualitative analyses from three experiments in Armenia and presents insights from international experience. The findings show both positive and negative effects of implementing credit KFSs and policy recommendations are made based on these findings.

Publisher AFI
Number of Pages 12
Primary Language English (en)
Region / Country Global
Keywords Key Facts Statement, Credit regulation
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Agricultural finance and the youth, Prospects for financial inclusion in Uganda Paper 2020 English (en)

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This resource appears in: Rural Financial Services, Country studies, Africa, Inclusive finance

The aim of this study is to provide a comprehensive assessment of the current state of financial inclusion of the rural youth in Uganda, with a specific focus on their engagement in the agricultural sector and the
financial services that are available to them to pursue their business ventures in this area. The study seeks to illustrate and bring to light the core constraints and opportunities associated with the provision of tailored financial services to young agricultural entrepreneurs in the country, while showcasing the essential role that key support actors (such as the Government, Central Bank, international development institutions, NGOs, foundations and many others) can play in fostering the provision and uptake of such services.

The study employs a methodological approach that blends extensive desk research with extensive data gathering at field level (both quantitative and qualitative) carried out through surveys and interviews with key stakeholders in Uganda’s agricultural and financial sectors. The study is meant to support FAO’s interventions in the country in the domains of financial inclusion and decent employment opportunities for the rural youth, with a specific view to enabling partnerships with relevant financial institutions and apexlevel organizations capable and willing to support the development of a range of youth-tailored financial products and other complementary activities.

Document  -  English (en)

Refugee Access to Financial Services in Jordan Brief 2019 English (en)

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This resource appears in: Country studies

Areas of innovation that improve access to financial services for refugees

A lack of recognized documentation can create barriers to basic communication services, such as mobile phone services and digital mobile wallets, in addition to traditional financial services such as opening of bank accounts. To overcome any such barriers, UNHCR Jordan has been piloting emerging innovation technology and financial service options. In 2013, the introduction of Iris-enabled biometric registration has been the first key-step: a quick and efficient way in which the identity of refugees could be better protected by eliminating potential fraud.

In addition to reiterating the need to ensure access to identity documents for refugees as a key tool to achieve their legal protection, and contribute to their self-reliance and resilience, this report looks into areas of innovation that improve access to financial services, such as:

  • Monthly cash assistance provided to 32,500 refugee families through ATMs that require only an iris scan - no cards or other identity documents. The iris scan authenticates identity by linking back to UNHCR’s registration data base.
  • Ad hoc distribution of non-food items in Azraq and Zaatari refugee camps based on iris authentication.
  • Food vouchers to shop in super markets in the camps - UNHCR’s biometric data validates the identity of refugees in WFP shops.
  • The introduction of ‘self-renewal’ stations in the registration process, using iris authentication to trigger a process of self-validation.
  • Biometrics anchored in biographical data has the potential to give persons of concern a portable digital identity, which when linked to other service providers, can enable digital inclusion in host country.
Refugee Access to Financial Services in Jordan  -  English (en)

Use of financial diaries to understand smallholder investment finance - a cross country analysis in Mozambique, Tanzania and Pakistan Paper 2019

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This resource appears in: Agricultural finance, Country studies, Africa, Asia and Pacific, Investment, Agricultural investment, Rural Invest

Purpose: This paper evaluates the relative importance of different sources of finance for agricultural and non-agricultural investments using unique Smallholder Financial Diaries collected by CGAP in Mozambique, Pakistan, and Tanzania at the individual and household level.

Design/methodology/approach: Following the analytical framework of variance decomposition developed in Samphantharak and Townsend (2010), this study develops a method to quantify how much each cash deficit associated to investments and expenses of interest co-move with different financing sources. 

Findings: This paper finds that self-finance, rather than formal or informal finance from external providers, is the main financing source for long-term and short -term smallholder agricultural investments. Further, the paper finds that the main source of self-finance varies depending on the economic opportunities faced by smallholders, with non-agricultural income as the dominant financing source for some, while agricultural income dominating for others.

Practical implications: These findings imply that financial inclusion policies specifically targeting smallholders and the agricultural sector would benefit from enabling the development of an ecosystem of diverse financial services that respond simultaneously to both agriculture and nonagriculture needs.

Originality/values: This paper furthers our knowledge on how smallholder households are financing their agricultural investments. Moreover, it develops a new methodology and uses it exploiting a unique data set.


Author María del Puerto Soria, Emilio Hernández and Riccardo Ciacci
Publisher Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Rome, Italy; Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP), Washington D.C, United States of America; Universidad Loyola Andalucía, Seville, Spain
Number of Pages 29 pages
Primary Language English (en)
Region / Country Global, Africa, Asia
Mozambique, Tanzania and Pakistan
Keywords smallholder investment finance, financial diaries, agricultural investments, non-agricultural investments, smallholders
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Local-economy impacts of cash crop promotion Brief 2019

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This resource appears in: Money management, Rural Financial Services: General, Financial sector linkages, Country studies, Africa

A number of studies have examined the direct impacts of cash crop production on producer households. This is the first to quantify the general equilibrium impacts of introducing a new cash crop into a poor isolated economy, including impacts on environmentally sensitive fishing activities.

This research has found that the introduction of oil palm production explains the striking growth in income in Uganda’s Ssese Islands, including large-scale production spillovers to non-palm sectors as well as a significant reduction in pressure on the Lake Victoria fishery.

It also shows that oil palm development, through a project that connected a commercial aggregator with small-scale farmers, enabled an economy at a low-level equilibrium to transition to a higher equilibrium state, with positive spillovers across households as well as across production sectors.

Overall, econometric evidence confirms results from simulations using an island-wide general equilibrium model parameterized from new micro survey data.

Author J. Edward Taylor, Edward Whitney, Heng Zhu
Publisher IFAD
Number of Pages 37 pages
Primary Language English (en)
Region / Country Africa
Keywords Rural Finance, Crops, Fisheries, East and Southern Africa, Uganda, cash crop, Local Markets
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