Evidence on the impact of rural and agricultural finance on clients in Sub-Saharan Africa: a literature review
This report by the Evans School Policy Analysis and Research Group (EPAR) and commissioned The Rural and Agricultural Finance Learning Lab, reviews and summarizes the existing evidence on the impact of access to financial services/products on measures of production, income and wealth, consumption and food security, and resilience for smallholder farmers and other rural customers and their households in Sub-Saharan Africa. This study covers four main types of financial products/services: 1) credit; 2) savings; 3) insurance; and 4) mobile money and digital products. The literature review provides a great overview of what the rigorous impact studies to date have found, and a full bibliography to dig further. Some of the key takeaways are that rural and agricultural finance solutions can deliver real impact for smallholder/rural households, but the impact is far from guaranteed, especially since successfully utilizing a financial solution to transform one’s livelihood hinges on a complex range of factors. Perhaps most importantly, it’s clear that there’s a lot to learn still about impact of different financial solutions – including the product experience and the context in which they are delivered – on smallholder households. These themes are also discussed further in the Impact Case study by Dalberg which builds from the foundation of the EPAR literature review.