Mastercard Foundation's Rural and Agricultural Finance portfolio

Members of the Foundation's Rural and Agricultural Finance portfolio collaborate with the Learning Lab in a few ways.  The Lab is the official learning partner to the Fund for Rural Prosperity, tasked with understanding and sharing the lessons emerging from the challenge fund.  Then, the Lab is a high-level learning partner to the RAF portfolio as a whole, synthesizing learnings across programs, and facilitating collaboration, guided by a portfolio-wide learning agenda.  For their part, RAF partners share data, knowledge and lessons learned, provide access to clients for field research, and actively contribute to cross-program dialogue facilitated by the Lab.  Many of these partners have conducted or will conduct their own highly-relevant research, and the users of the Lab's web portal can find key partner knowledge products on the site.  

The MasterCard Foundation Fund for Rural Prosperity aims to improve the lives of 1,000,000 people living in poverty by enabling businesses to begin or expand financial services in rural areas of Sub-Saharan Africa. Through biannual competitions focused on scaling and innovation, the Fund awards financial support to projects that are creative, impactful, and sustainable. The Fund seeks to create change at the farmer, insitution, and sector level:

  • Farmer Level: Improve livelihoods and incomes of smallholder farmers by building their capabilities to access and use financial services 
  • Institution Level: To enable financial services providers and agribusinesses to develop and expand access and partnerships for smallholder farmers 
  • Sector Level: To promote systemic change in agricultural finance by attracting other influential actors and supporting innovation 
AgDevCo

AgDevCo is a specialist agriculture impact investor that has established a Smallholder Development Unit (SDU) with support from the MasterCard Foundation (MCF). The SDU will work with rural agricultural enterprises to develop equitable outgrower schemes in eight African countries. Activities will include providing training and better quality inputs for farmers, implement mobile technology solutions, and brokering long term purchase contracts. The SDU aims to develop 25 “outgrower schemes” over 5 years that will improve the livelihoods of up to half a million farmers.

Agra

AGRA's Financial Inclusion for Smallholder Farmers in Africa Program aims to reduce food insecurity and increase the incomes of about 700,000 smallholder farmers in Kenya, Tanzania and Ghana by February 2020 by working with financial institutions and agriculture value chain actors, especially agro dealers, aggregators-warehouse operators and farmer-based organizations. The FISFAP relies on several proven approaches, including:

  • Risk sharing/mitigation
  • Use of Information and Communication Technology tools
  • Crowdfunding
  • Multisectoral partnerships

In addition to improving the access to and delivery of financial services to smallholder farmers, FISFAP also seeks to contribute to the sector by improve financial inclusion through research and documentation. 

ICCO STARS (Strengthening African Rural Smallholders)

According to the FAO, supporting small-scale farmers will be critical to reducing hunger and poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa.  Strengthening African Rural Smallholders (STARS) is a program implemented by ICCO Cooperation with support from The MasterCard Foundation. STARS aims to transform the lives of 210,000 farmers, 50% of them are women, in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Senegal and will have an overall impact in the lives of over 1 million people. Cooperation will take place with MFIs to develop innovative risk-mitigating tools and provide the necessary loans to farmers to diversify their crop or to buy equipment that increases their production.

KCB Bank

KCB Group, a major commercial bank in east Africa, has the largest branch network in the region with over 260 branches, 962 ATMS and 11,948 agents offering banking services on a 24/7 basis in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan, and Burundi with a correspondent unit in Ethiopia. 

Recently, KCB has entered into a USD 30 million effort with The MasterCard Foundation to offer financial inclusion to two million farmers in Kenya and Rwanda. KCB will offer an extension of Financial services to farmers in dairy, crop, and livestock farming via mobile phones via M-Kulima.

Kiva

Kiva Labs is a program to deepen the outreach and impact of financial services to the most underserved part of the market through the extension of Kiva’s proven low cost re-finance model to incentivize loan products with high impact potential. Kiva Labs presents a rich platform for learning and acceleration across a diverse set of alternative models aiming to address the challenges of poverty reduction against the backdrop of the known limitations of the standard microcredit model and slower macroeconomic growth in Africa. Kiva’s unique capital, diverse network, technology, and highly visible brand can help the financial inclusion sector better adapt to the challenges of the day.

Kiva's partnership with The MasterCard Foundation will enable us to deepen financial access and impact in Africa by providing crowdfunded capital, capacity building, data and research to introduce, expand, and ultimately encourage others to replicate the delivery of evidence-backed loans in underserved markets.

Mercy Corps AgriFin Accelerate

Mercy Corps' AgriFin Accelerate program supports the expansion of digital financial services to 1,000,000 farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa over six years, delivered by growing ecosystems of diverse service providers. The program utilizes a a rapid iteration engagement model to drive client-centric product development and work with partners to develop “bundles” of mobile-
enabled services offering farmers affordable access to financial and informational services.

Agrifin Accelerate focuses on the following areas for innovation:

  • Digital technology for learning
  • Tech start-up acceleration
  • Alternative data to inform financial service design
  • Human-centered design techniques with an emphasis on the needs of women and youth
One Acre Fund

The OneAcre Fund seeks to expand access to financial services and training for smallholder farmers in Kenya, Rwanda, and Burundi, ultimately enabling 181,000 additional poor farm households to improve their farming techniques, and increase their profits on every planted acre.

Opportunity International

Utilizing Opportunity International's successful presence in Ghana, Uganda, Rwanda, Malawi and Tanzania, the Africa Growth and Innovations Initiative promotes access to loans, savings programs and other critical financial products and services through expanding delivery channels. With a focus on low cost branches and mobile banking, AGII hopes to increase crop yields, productivity, income, and food sevurity through increased savings outreach and expanded financial services for smalllholder farmers. The program also provides financal education to the poorest areas. Opportunity International also hosts the Knowledge Exchange.

Root Capital is pioneering finance for high-impact agricultural businesses in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The organization lends capital, delivers financial training, and strengthens market connections so that businesses that serve smallholder farmers can grow rural prosperity. Since its founding in 1999, Root Capital has disbursed more than $900 million in loans to over 600 businesses and has improved incomes for 1.2 million farm households. Learn more at www.rootcapital.org.