Rural Finance and Investment Insights: February 2019
Dear RFILC members,
We hope February’s newsletter edition will tickle your mind with interesting reading. The first highlight of the month is the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) joint publication, titled “Crop Receipts - A New Financing Instrument for Africa”. Access to finance remains a critical bottleneck for farmers and agribusinesses in Africa. Farmers, processors, and other agricultural value chain actors need better access to a broad suite of financial services for working and investment capital and for managing risks if they are to become more productive and contribute to global food security. While access to financial services is a frequent constraint at all segments of agricultural value chains, pre-harvest financing at the farm level is perhaps the biggest gap, as evidenced by the low usage of agricultural inputs and equipment in Africa. One promising innovation in pre-harvest finance is Brazil’s Cedula de Produto Rural, which is commonly referred to as crop receipt (CR). IFC and FAO have partnered to assess the scope for introducing CR-based pre-harvest finance in Africa and identify concrete opportunities and entry points in two African countries.
The second highlight is a report by the International Finance Corporation, titled “Blockchain: Opportunities for Private Enterprises in Emerging Markets”. Throughout two years, IFC worked with key influencers and experts in the worlds of distributed ledgers and digital finance to create a series of nine papers examining the potential and perils of blockchain. An initial report with six chapters was published in October 2017. Since then, three additional in-depth notes have been added to broaden and deepen our understanding of this burgeoning technology, its enormous potential, and its many challenges. These documents collectively examine the general contours and technology underlying blockchain and its implications for emerging markets. Specifically, this report provides an examination of blockchain implementation in financial services and global supply chains.
The third highlight is an intensive training programme, titled “Advanced Program on Financial Inclusion, Social Performance and Data Analysis” hosted by the Microfinance Association, will take place in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates from 15th to 19th April 2019. This one-week executive training programme is designed to enhance the collective capabilities of institutions by building individual knowledge and skills to achieve strategic goals. The program will allow microfinance managers, consultants and trainers to develop the theoretical and practical skills necessary to improve the performance of their organisation.
Finally, we would like to remind you that the 2nd Spanish Edition of the Boulder Rural and Agricultural Finance Program (RAFP) will take place in Merida, Mexico from March 18th to March 29th, 2019. This program created with FAO and CABFIN, a collaborative workgroup including IFAD, FAO, GIZ, UNCDF, WFP and the World Bank, is a highly specialized program offered for experienced rural and agricultural finance practitioners and institutions. The two weeks immersion program will be offered in Spanish with a total of 70 academic course hours delivered by Boulder Faculty. This diverse group of internationally-recognized agrifinance experts will cover a broad range of topics and viewpoints on how to efficiently reach financial inclusion for smallholder farmers. The rationale of the program is to create a forum for participants to deeply reflect on their specific challenges, where they can share ideas and strategies on how to face the agricultural finance sector's pressing issues, using new tools and a fresh perspective.
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: