Improving Rural Connectivity in East Africa

PART 1: Designing a Rural Connectivity Hub Model On April 10th, 2018, AgriFin Accelerate was excited to host an ideation workshop in Nairobi to engage leading market experts on the concept of rural connectivity and explore solutions to existing challenges and partnership models. The Issue Broadband and wireless internet access has grown exponentially in Kenya over the past few years, in part, due to a range of cost-effective solutions targeting…

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2017 AgriFin Accelerate (AFA) Learning Outcomes Highlighted at 2nd Annual Learning Event

The Mercy Corps AgriFin Accelerate (AFA) program seeks to address the financial inclusion gap for smallholder farmers with greater access to affordable, accessible, and demand-driven financial products and services. As part of AFA’s 2nd Annual Learning Event, taking place in Nairobi, Kenya on 31 January 2018, AFA is releasing a wide range of blogs and documents highlighting its program and learning outcomes from the past year in Kenya, Zambia, and…

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Don’t Lose the Plot

Reality TV ‘edutainment’ series Don’t Lose the Plot engages youth to see farming as a business through digital media and tools As the average age of African farmers rises above 40 years, countries are faced with the question of how to cultivate the next generation of food growers. Knowing that youth are drawn to digital technologies and social media, the Mercy Corps Agrifin Accelerate (AFA) Program collaborated with the Mediae…

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Increasing women’s financial inclusion in Zambia – blog 2

Blog series About this series: The Mercy Corps AgriFin Accelerate (AFA) program seeks to address the financial inclusion gap for smallholder farmers with greater access to affordable, accessible, and demand-driven financial products and services. In Zambia, AFA is leading a consortium of partners to develop and scale a range of bundled digital financial and other services for women farmers under the Financial Sector Deepening Zambia (FSDZ)’s Women’s Financial Inclusion (WIN)…

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Increasing women’s financial inclusion in Zambia – blog 1

Blog series About this series: The MercyCorps AgriFin Accelerate (AFA) program seeks to address the financial inclusion gap for smallholder farmers with greater access to affordable, accessible, and demand-driven financial products and services. In Zambia, AFA is leading a consortium of partners to develop and scale a range of bundled digital financial and other services for women farmers under the Financial Sector Deepening Zambia (FSDZ)’s Women’s Financial Inclusion (WIN) initiative.…

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Supply side constraints to rural agent network viability in Zambia

4 lessons from a global scan By Andrew Karlyn, Strategy & Insights Lead, AgriFin Accelerate Rural-dominated markets, particularly across Africa, face significant challenges in finding a growth pathway for digital financial services.  Zambia is one such market and with a population of 16 million, 60% of Zambians live in rural areas. Yet despite high penetration of financial inclusion (60%), active use of DFS in Zambia lags at 35% 90-day usage.…

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Inside Story: Zambia Small-Holder Cotton Farmers

Of Bulk and Benefit: Lessons from Promoting Digital Payments among Cotton Ginners in Zambia Summary Digital bulk payments is a potential catalyst for financial inclusion for small holder farmers Cotton represents an important cash crop for rural Zambian small-holders Digitization efforts to date have met limited success A business requirements approach to digitization resulted in 8,229 farmers trained, and 477 new mobile money accounts Adoption lagged however, due to last-minute…

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The Art of Behavior Change

“We have always done it this way,” is the answer we received from a young poultry farmer in Athi River, a small town outside Kenya’s capital Nairobi, when we asked her why her chicken coop was a particular height. Further discussion around farming methods revealed she was willing to change her farming practices if she had access to reliable and convenient sources of information. This statement resonates with many of…

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The Potato Trade: From the middle-man’s perspective

Potatoes are the second most important crop in Kenya, after maize. They are grown by approximately 800,000 farmers, 98% of whom are smallholders and are mostly women.  Smallholders grow on less than 1 hectare and produce 83% of the countries production, according to the National Potato Council of Kenya.  Smallholders sell approximately 80% of their potatoes to mostly urban markets, and 70% of potatoes sold are chipped and served as…

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Is the time ripe for Agricultural e-commerce in Kenya? Four signals to watch.

Most entrepreneurs will tell you that apart from luck and financing, the right timing for launching a product is the final spice that makes the meal rewarding. While catching up on my tech reading I stumbled on a book authored by Porter Erisman on the rise of Alibaba, ‘Alibaba’s World’, and in reflection I found many intersections with the key themes discussed and the current context we find ourselves in…

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