We would like to start our March’s newsletter with a topic of Digital Services. The promise of digital services is significant for the rural unbanked. However, there are very few clear-cut best practices for designing these services. There are even fewer best practices when designing for client protection. Therefore, we would like to amplify your knowledge with newly published UNCDF MicroLead programme case study titled “Protecting Savings Groups Reached Through High-Tech Channels: Guidance from the New Client Protection Principles for a Digital Savings Product”from the Freedom from Hunger’s Bridge to Financial Inclusion project based in Burkina Faso. This case study highlights experiences of integrating client protection principles – the minimum standards microfinance clients should expect – into the initial design and roll-out of a digital savings product designed for savings groups platforms.
Secondly, we are thrilled to bring to your attention a new FAO publication, called Agricultural investment funds for development: Descriptive analysis and lessons learned from fund management, performance and private–public collaboration. This analysis explores agricultural investment funds as a vehicle for financing agricultural businesses and projects, and analyzes the capital needs of different agricultural actors along the agricultural value chain and further discusses investment funds and its various types of investors and investment objectives. Overall, this publication outlines the importance of connecting less developed financial markets around the world with national and international investors, and in promoting joint efforts by the public and private sectors.
Finally, the Global Savings Groups Conference 2018 will take place from 22 to 24 May, 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda. The conference is a biennial event that engages a large and diverse community of stakeholders, develops and promotes improved standards of practice, mobilizes knowledge, strengthens partnerships and alliances, and creates opportunities for cross-organizational learning. Event will offer a platform for attendees to connect, engage and learn from each other about the challenges and opportunities they face in supporting Savings Groups – including Village Savings and Loans Associations, self-help groups, indigenous savings groups, and other forms of community-based microfinance – worldwide.
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: