ICCO and AUXFIN Boost Digital Financial Inclusion in Rural Areas
ICCO and AUXFIN join forces to develop agricultural value chains and to boost digital financial inclusion in remote rural areas.
In order to support the agricultural sector in Burundi as a whole, ICCO COOPERATION and social enterprise AUXFIN have decided to jointly support the development and financing of value chains. ICCO and AUXFIN want to work together to strengthen the development of market-oriented agriculture in Burundi, as the mandates of both organizations reflect complementarities.
Burundi’s country representative Pieter Spaarman says: “In remote areas farmers often have no bank account and aren’t able to get a loan to upscale their business. A trip to the bank in the capital-on the back of a small motorcycle for example- is expensive and in many cases it takes hours to get there. Some banks are open to support farm business in those areas, but do not have a network amongst rural farmers. Microfinance institutes can find these networks through ICCO Cooperation and AUXFIN.”
Fight against food security and poverty
The partnership between ICCO and AUXFIN contributes to the fight against food
insecurity and poverty in rural areas. Access to financial services is essential for the development of agricultural value chains. However small their plots, farmers need some money to invest in soil improvement, irrigation and quality seeds.
AUXFIN works via its Universal Method of Value Access (UMVA) platform on financial and social inclusion through its network of G50s (groups of 50 households). The platform follows the Community activation platform (CAP) approach, composed of six pillars:
– Access to finance
– Work and salary
– Social connection
ICCO works on the links of production, marketing and financing of value chains, through households and producer organisations in rural areas. ICCO processes units and Microfinance Institutes (MFIs), building on the work of its Microfinance, Agri-finance et Chaînes de Valeur program (MAVC). A project that supports the development of innovative finance for rural Burundi will start in 2020 with a French name: Projet d’appui au développement de la finance innovatrice rurale au Burundi (PADFIR) program.
AUXFIN is keen to expand the number of MFIs connected to UMVA, while ICCO has expressed a desire to connect its operational partners to the UMVA platform.
Pieter Spaarman, Country Representative Burundi of ICCO Cooperation: “Both ICCO and AUXFIN have been key actors in Burundi for a long period and today’s signing of a formal agreement of collaboration between the 2 institutions is a great milestone, as it creates opportunities to enhance the results and impact of our interventions. Although there is much talk about cooperation between NGOs and the private sector, making it happen often proves to be challenging. We are therefore even more pleased with the achievement of this partnership.”
Cornelis Heesbeen, CEO of AUXFIN: “AUXFIN aims to deliver financial and non-financial solutions that are accessible to all, including vulnerable populations with low literacy and numeracy skills, limited access to internet, no- or low access to electricity, and limited experience with mobile and other technologies. Today is a day of celebration as we can now start to make the fruits of ICCO’s work in Burundi available to our national network of farmers through the UMVA platform, together with their operational partners. Moreover, we are excited about the possibility to combine our work on the agricultural value chains, allowing us to leverage the impact of the applications AgriCoach and AgriMonitor.”