The rural finance conference that is scheduled to take place next month in Kigali has attracted a total of 180 participants from eastern and southern Africa to devise means of improving rural finance.
According to the Association of Microfinance Institutions in Rwanda (AMIR) which is a partner organizer, the conference aims at boosting rural finance of which microfinance plays a major role.
“The conference will help us learn from other countries experiences especially in areas of value chain financing as well as opportunities available and challenges that rural financing faces,” said Peter Rwema the in-charge of research and product development at AMIR.
The conference under the theme ‘Value chain: Opportunities and Challenges,’ will address the lack of access to business information, awareness about available opportunities and increasing finance in the agriculture sector.
The development of value chain finance will also enhance innovation in delivering more and better financial services to rural producers and agribusinesses.
The value chain finance helps rural entrepreneurs through provision of credit, savings, guarantees and insurance to the value chain actors.
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) a major partner in rural finance has for the past three years committed $8 million for financial services projects in both eastern and southern Africa region.
“We also want to see how we can increase the services and financial products to the people like up scaling the loan sizes for rural people as well as micro leasing in order to grow their businesses,” explained Rwema.
However, the challenge for both governments and donors is to support the value chain without undermining the private sector solutions.
According to Rwema, interventions should be geared toward facilitating private sector solutions, addressing market failures and ensuring a functioning enabling environment.