30 Jul 2019

Venture Capitals often search for companies addressing sectors of the economy that are full of problems — and therefore ripe for disruption. From this perspective, Africa's agriculture industry should be an attractive market for VC investment. But despite increased interest, there have been few success stories for venture capital in the Sub-Saharan agriculture industry, especially compared to other industries like fintech, energy, ICT, consumer goods, education, and healthcare.

This paper explores why it’s been difficult to generate VC-level returns in agriculture, and some solutions that show promise.

Read the full post on Medium.

05 Jul 2019
Learning Lab, ISF Advisors, The Feed the Future Initiative

In a series of blogs, ISF Advisors and the Mastercard Foundation Rural and Agricultural Finance Learning Lab (the Lab) will introduce major concepts and frameworks that will anchor our upcoming State of the Sector report for rural finance. Building on the “industry model” developed in our 2016 Inflection Point report, these frameworks aim to bring further clarity and insight to the three layers of the market: Rural clients [1], financial service providers (FSPs), and the capital markets. We hope that by sharing early versions of this thinking we can stimulate debate and discussion across the sector about what is needed to continue to enhance access to rural, agricultural financial services.

In this second blog, we discuss some of the major shifts and trends that have shaped the FSP market since the ‘innovation inflection point.’ Further, we present a new segmentation of FSPs, that goes beyond type of FSP to create segments based on organizations’ underlying ‘Primary Goal for Service Delivery’ and ‘Service Delivery Model.’

[1] Rural clients include smallholder households and rural, agricultural service enterprises.

24 Jun 2019

CTA's new "Digitalisation of African Agriculture Report" explores the progress made in the field of digital agriculture solutions and aims to serve as a barometer for the current state of D4Ag in Africa. The report offers insights on the future of the sector, and the specific roles stakeholders must play to further unlock its full potential. 

"Agriculture is expected to be a trillion-dollar market by 2030, ripe for innovation that will drive greater efficiency, sustainable increases in productivity, yield and income... Technology, as we have seen in other sectors, is critical to affecting change and driving development. In agriculture, digitalisation could be a game changer in boosting productivity, profitability and resilience to climate change.... An inclusive, digitally-enabled agricultural transformation could help achieve meaningful livelihood improvements for Africa’s smallholder farmers and pastoralists." 

- Michael Hailu, Director, CTA

Download the full report here.