14 May 2015

AgDevCo co-founder, Chris Isaac, shares his insights on unlocking agriculture potential through blended finance. 

Investing in Agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa is estimated as being 11 times more effective in reducing poverty than investment in any other sector. Last year, "private equity investment reached $8.1 billion. However, investors are unsurprisingly betting on financial services, consumer goods, and property." Financial capital is simply not reaching the rural agricultural sector.

Chris Isaac argues that the lack of capital flow is halted for these three main reasons:

  1. Logistics costs are too high
  2. Agriculture is inherently risky and requires expert knowledge
  3. Most agribusiness investment opportunities are small and early-stage

This short op-ed calls the private sector to immediate financial action, detailing how and why private sector players need to get involved. Blended finance funds “have an ability to invest with new entrepreneurs and early-stage businesses, allowing them to build a track record, which should help them access later rounds of commercial capital.” Investments in rural agriculture can help fuel economic growth, reduce poverty, and demonstrate that agriculture can indeed be a more profitable business.


03 Feb 2015
ISF Advisors

The ninth briefing note in a series from the Initiative for Smallholder Finance is a case study of a TechnoServe project aiming to increase incomes of smallholder coffee farmers in East Africa.

According to TechnoServe’s management team, the Coffee Initiative generated several relevant lessons, including the importance of leveraging good data, committing to a long time horizon, being flexible with partners, and coordinating across the value chain.

These principles have already helped motivate other private sector companies, including financial providers, to get involved and invest their own capital and resources to make the Coffee Initiative sustainable.


01 Feb 2015
Centenary Bank building

Partnership between AgriFin and the Centenary Rural Development Bank delivers TA for improved service of agricultural market.

The partnership had three main objectives: establishing an agricultural finance department at Centenary; strengthening the bank’s capacity to deliver services to rural clients; and developing the skills of staff in order to serve agricultural clients efficiently.

By conducting a strategic review that identified growth opportunities, and making crucial operational changes, the agricultural finance department strengthened Centenary Bank’s capacity to serve agricultural clients leading to an increase in the number of clients and a rise in lending volumes.

The project also resulted in the development of innovative tools to reach and serve rural agricultural clients, such as new loan products to finance agricultural activities at different stages along the value chain, satellite branches in rural areas, electronic and telephonic banking services, and a village mapping tool to direct expansion into areas with high growth potential.