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July 2020
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Dear RFILC members,

Never waste a crisis! It seems that this philosophic sentence is very suitable for the current COVID-19 pandemic. As we gradually learn from this challenging period, we are innovating to develop a series of financial services models that adapt to the impact of the pandemic, or at least accepting the fact that  some unprecedented problems and challenges must be faced. This is indeed an unpredictable but precious opportunity.

In fact, the opening sentence is the title of an article that we want to introduce to you first in this monthly insight. A recent study "Never waste a crisis – how sub-Saharan African insurers are being affected by, and are responding to, COVID-19" developed by FSD Africa and Cenfri. While the pandemic has exacerbated pre-existing weaknesses of the insurance sector in sub-Saharan Africa, it also provides an opportunity for insurers and regulators to become better equipped to embrace and adopt innovation and develop their insurance markets. The study takes stock of the impacts of the pandemic on insurers, based on interviews with various market stakeholders, looking at the impacts across the insurance product cycle, balance sheet impacts and the regulatory engagements and responses to identify key opportunities for insurance and regulators.

FAO is continuously making unremitting efforts in rural finance to respond to the impact of the pandemic. A newly released FAO's policy brief aims to provide useful information for policymakers and other stakeholders in developing countries on how to design COVID-19 response programmes through dedicated rural finance instruments and broader financial sector involvement. The brief discusses emerging patterns on how countries are currently responding to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 crisis. It looks at several innovations, good practices and policy options that appear as most relevant for developing country contexts.

Today, post offices deliver more money than mail. They therefore represent a prominent channel for the provision of remittances and financial services to the world's underserved rural areas. Related to this subject, we want to introduce you a set of three working papers by IFAD on "How post offices can leverage the impact of remittances", exploring ways to maximize the impact of remittances delivered through post offices. They provide lessons learned and guidance on how to expand outreach at the last mile, enhance impact through partnership building and improve customer centricity to reach underserved clients in rural areas.

By closing this month's highlights, we are delighted to share with you an exciting call for proposal on agricultural risk management approaches that can be used by agri-SMEs and agri-finance providers during and after the COVID-19 crisis, as part of an upcoming learning series on this theme. All interested parties are invited to submit case studies and can find out more details by visiting the event page before the deadline on July 31.


We wish you a lovely summer holiday,

The RFILC Editorial Team

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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:

CABFIN Partnership

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