The rise of the data scientist: How big data and data science are changing smallholder finance
This briefing note by the Initiative for Smallholder Finance explores how innovative lenders are using new data sources and analytics to assess the creditworthiness of borrowers. It seeks to supplement the growing body of literature on alternative applications of data in assessing credit risk with a discussion of the opportunity to extend these models to the agriculture sector. The current state of alternative credit assessment models apart from and with respect to the agriculture sector is highlighted, as well as the challenges that prevent an easy transfer of urban tested models to agricultural borrowers. The authors highlight efforts to develop new data sources for the agriculture sector, as well as trends that may support alternative data driven credit assessment in these environments. The note concludes with recommendations for how lenders, donors, and other partners can push forward the development of such alternative credit assessment models.