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US$7.9m Kiva, MasterCard project to expand financial access for farmers

Africa , 12 Oct 2016

US$7.9m Kiva, MasterCard project to expand financial access for farmers

Global crowdfunding platform Kiva and the MasterCard Foundation have announced a US$7.9 million five-year partnership aimed at expanding financial access among African smallholder farmers and rural populations.

Through the partnership, the two organisations will test and scale financial services and loan products tailored to the unique needs of marginalised groups.

The aim of the project is to push the boundaries of microcredit by developing, scaling and replicating high-impact, client-centered loan products.

"This partnership enables Kiva to bring our crowdfunded, risk-tolerant, patient capital to microlenders and social enterprises willing to try new evidence-based loan products that would otherwise be deemed too risky or unproven to try," said Premal Shah, president and co-founder of Kiva.

"Throughout the lifespan of the project we will test what works, experiment with scalability and replication, and share our results across the financial inclusion sector."

Ann Miles, director of financial inclusion and youth livelihoods at the MasterCard Foundation, said Kiva had demonstrated ingenuity in developing new ways to enable smallholder farmers and others living in rural and remote areas of Africa to access the working capital they need and want.

"We're proud to partner with Kiva and Kiva Labs to support innovation in this important sector, expand the range of possibilities and empower larger numbers of people to improve their livelihoods," she said.

While millions of people still lack access to capital to scale their own ideas, creative solutions and loan products are increasingly driving progress around the world, the partners said.

Kiva's Kiva Labs is setting out to apply these solutions, bringing together a set of experimental partners and loan products designed to encourage innovation in the microcredit and social enterprise sectors.

With support from the MasterCard Foundation, Kiva Labs will introduce and scale new financial products and service innovations among selected social enterprises and microfinance institutions serving smallholder farmers and rural populations.

It will also be able to improve the capacity of social enterprises and microcredit providers to design and distribute new products, as well as evaluate the impact of these new products and services and disseminate the results across the microcredit and financial inclusion sector.

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