The business case for digitally-enabled smallholder finance
This report (PDF) by RAF Learning is exploring the business case for smallholder finance, in particular the role of digital approaches in making it possible to profitably serve this market at scale. New digital technologies and innovative business models are making it possible to provide credit to smallholder farmers in Africa. As a host of digital technologies emerge along the lending value chain, a new generation of technology-enabled business approaches is bringing large segments of the population into the addressable market and doing so cost-efficiently. The report looks at where and how innovations in digital technology promise to enable financial service providers to serve smallholders at scale. The report draws on a new survey of 23 selected financial service profiders in Africa who have begun their “digital journey”, as well as extensive desk research and interviews with a cross-section of digital smallholder finance sector donors, implementers, and entrepreneurs. It explores how financial service providers are digitalizing their lending operations and early indications of the value they see, touches briefly on the customer perspective of these digital approaches, and then analyzes the challenges to going digital, providing recommendations for advancing digitalization in the sector.