MFW4A-USAID Webinar: Digital Financial Services in Agriculture

May 03, 2016

Recording and Presentation

Download the Recording>> Download the Presentation>> The MFW4A-USAID webinar featured
Mrs. Christine Martin, Senior Digital Finance Advisor, Global Development Lab, USAID, and
co-author of the recently launched "Guide to the Use of Digital Financial Services in Agriculture", as well as
Mr. Christopher Chibwana,
Private Sector Specialist, USAID/Malawi. This Guide is the result of an ongoing effort within USAID to understand how digital financial services (DFS) can support the U.S. Government's Feed the Future initiative's goals of increasing agricultural incomes and reducing malnutrition while simultaneously building out ultra-inclusive economic infrastructure. About the Webinar Smallholders have the potential to play an ever-increasing role in feeding the world through sustainable supply of key agricultural commodities. However, most smallholders lack their own funds to invest in their farms to improve productivity and connect to markets. The "Guide to the Use of Digital Finance in Agriculture" aims to provide a quick and easy-to-use tool to understand how one new technology platform, digital finance, can help address some of the challenges that smallholder farmers are experiencing today-mainly, lack of access to financial services and convenient payment systems. Digital financial services (DFS) can help to address specific chronic challenges in the value chain-especially those challenges that need financial services solutions, and where the traditional finance sector is not fully addressing the demands in rural markets. Digital finance offers a way to expand access to the formal financial system (through a basic transaction account), taking advantage of the rapid growth of digital and mobile telephone infrastructure and the advent of branchless banking. The evidence shows that digital financial services can have a direct link to increasing farmer income and decreasing malnutrition and, as such, can help accelerate progress made by the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative, Feed the Future. It is important to note that while DFS is not a panacea for agriculture development, the integration of DFS to address the specific challenges identified does have significant impacts, and often beyond the immediate goal. This Guide is based on four in-country assessments: Tanzania and Uganda, relatively mature DFS markets; Ghana, a rapidly expanding DFS market; and Haiti, a relatively nascent DFS market. The webinar discussion will highlight several case studies from the Guide to help understand how implementers have been able to identify opportunities and address the challenges of integrating digital financial services in agriculture projects.