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Ag leasing
Analysis: New research from Financial Sector Deepening Africa (FSDA) and Nathan Associates highlights agricultural lease finance as a way to expand access to finance for smallholders, allowing for greater mechanization of agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa. This blog summarizes some of the key opportunities and barriers to uptake and usage of lease finance - concluding with the recommendation of a potential fund that would help share the initial costs of agricultural equipment.
Learning brief 2
Analysis: The second in the Lab's Learning Brief series, "Better together: Last mile business partnerships for smallholder finance,"* offers baseline insights for building or enabling businesses partnerships to better serve smallholders. These are early findings from an ongoing study of four value chain/technology players looking to partner with financial institutions.
Analysis: Our learning brief explores the role of digital approaches (across the lending value chain) in making it possible to profitably serve the smallholder market at scale. What do the digital journeys of financial service providers entail? What results are FSPs seeing and what challenges do they face?
Analysis: Smallholder asset lender Juhudi Kilimo used a cloud-based management information system to improve its operational efficiency. Then it tested a new SMS reminder initiative, which proved promising in pilot but faced challenges during rollout. Elvin Walela tells this chapter in the story of Juhudi's digital journey.
Analysis: The fourteenth briefing note in a series from the Initiative for Smallholder Finance, the Dalberg Design Impact Group (DIG) explores the causes of low uptake in digital credit for smallholders to better understand how we can develop concrete product solutions to jump-start adoption of digital credit products by them. 
Analysis: The thirteenth briefing note in a series from the Initiative for Smallholder Finance, explores the latest practices from the climate finance community and the agricultural finance community to understand how new combined models can boost returns and attract new investors.
Analysis: The Learning Lab is researching how digitalization affects the business case for smallholder finance, specifically: what role do digital tools play in successful business models for lending to smallholders? Here we provide early findings from the research, in the form of a presentation from a Sep. 2016 workshop where Dalberg and the Lab discussed the results of organization surveys and expert interviews.
Analysis: CGAP’s National Survey(s) and Segmentation of Smallholder Households in Mozambique, Tanzania, and Uganda explores the financial, agricultural, and digital demands of smallholder households. The surveys are a groundbreaking effort to build a representative evidence base for the demand-side of the smallholder finance equation. The links above provide access to both summary reports and full micro datasets for each country, for further analysis. This blog summarizes a few of the key themes and specific variations across the three countries.
Analysis: The Learning Lab recently supported research by the MIX on detailed 2015 lending data from leading social lenders, who make up the Council on Smallholder Agricultural Finance (CSAF). The findings were summarized in the 2015 CSAF annual report, which takes a deeper look into the current state of the sector through the lens of donors, investors, and lenders. Dan Zook, Director of Investments at the Initiative for Smallholder Finance (ISF), unpacks some of the key highlights from the report, many of which corroborate and illustrate major insights from our study, Inflection Point.
Analysis: The Learning Lab analyzes applications from the first Scaling Competition of The MasterCard Foundation Fund for Rural Prosperity. Findings confirm key trends from the first Innovation Challenge and identify new trends around bundled service offerings and digital solutions.
Analysis: The twelfth briefing note from the Initiative for Smallholder Finance suggests that, if used correctly, philanthropic investment can play an influential role in mitigating FX risk.
ISF briefing 11 cover
Analysis: The eleventh briefing note in a series from the Initiative for Smallholder Finance explores how innovative lenders are using new data sources and analytics to assess the creditworthiness of borrowers. The full report is available for download here.