In this edition of our newsletter, we would like to begin by presenting a recent publication that focuses on the topic of women’s financial inclusion. Despite the considerable efforts carried out in recent years in the development arena to promote the access and use of quality financial services among low-income, rural populations, it is an undeniable fact that a considerable gender gap in financial inclusion is still present in the developing world. Rural women face several constraints that limit their capability of accessing finance and prevent them from actively participating in the economy and from improving their lives, constraints that are not only economic in nature, but also social, cultural, and legal. On the side of financial supply, local financial institutions also face numerous challenges when trying to extend their services to rural women, which include a diffused lack of understanding of the rural and agricultural sector as well as gender dynamics in rural areas. A recent publication from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) titled: “Women’s access to rural finance: challenges and opportunities” provides a review of the main demand- and supply-side constraints linked to women’s access to rural finance, while also presenting a number of key strategies which can be adopted to address these challenges. This study also offers examples of good practices and provide core policy recommendations to promote women’s financial inclusion.
The second highlight of the month is a recent publication developed by FAO in collaboration with the Asia-Pacific Rural and Agricultural Credit Association (APRACA), titled: “Guidelines for micro-finance and credit services in support of small-scale fisheries in Asia: A handbook for finance and fisheries stakeholders”. This study provides insights and lessons for financial service providers on the needs of small-scale fisheries, presenting a series of good practices and case studies on the financing of fisheries that show good potential for replication. The guidelines also present recommendations to policymakers in the Asia-Pacific region to help introduce and incentivize financial services to small-scale fisheries, with the ultimate objective of encouraging investment in the industry and by doing so influence and strengthen the ecological and economic viability of the fisheries sector.
Finally, we would like to inform you that the second annual Africa Agri-Finance Forum, hosted by Aidem Business Solutions, will take place this year in Nairobi, Kenya, from the 17th to the 18th of September. This year’s theme for the conference is; “Innovations that will Transform Africa’s Agri-Finance”, with a core question underpinning the event: “How can formal financial institutions provide agricultural credit that meets the unique demands of the entire agricultural sector?”. In attempt to answer this question, the conference will feature different thematic sessions for discussion, including: 1) Strategies for Overcoming Barriers to Agricultural Financing; 2) Climate; 3) Unlocking Agribusiness Initiatives and Skills; 4) Financial Products and Services; 5) Current Status and Recent Trends in the Sector; and 6) Digital FinanceTtechnologies. Please click here to register.
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: