Project aims for greater customer uptake, use, impact through mobile financial services in rural areas
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BRUSSELS, 6 July 2018 – Advans Côte d’Ivoire and WSBI this week signed a memorandum
of understanding to tackle financial inclusion in Ivorian organised value
chains, with a focus on small-scale cocoa farmers. Falling under
WSBI's Making Small Scale Savings Work programme
supported by the Mastercard Foundation, Advans aims to build on the current
branchless banking offer to scale-up
digital-based crop payments for farmers so that traders / cooperatives
can pay farmers directly on a savings account.
Côte d’Ivoire’s Chief Executive Officer Gaël Briot said: “Advans aims to serve
over 120,000 rural clients at the end of four years. To do this, we want to
provide them with the most adapted delivery channels for rural zones – namely
mobile banking and agency banking.”
project also plans to develop a full range of products and services for farmers
including micro-insurance, loans and savings accounts. The farmers will also be
trained on financial literacy to encourage them to save.
Briot added: “Having access to financial services will enable these clients to
reinforce their incomes, improve their financial security and stability, and
give them the capacity and tools to better manage their household finances.
This will impact indirectly 720,000 people in rural areas.”
Advans chose to focus on rural clients in Cote
d’Ivoire, and cocoa clients especially, because this target market is important
to the country’s economic and social development but remains largely unserved
by financial service providers. Some 800,000 small-scale cocoa farmers
contribute up to 10% of the in Côte d’Ivoire’s gross domestic product. Around 6
million people are indirectly dependent on cocoa revenues.
More than four-fifths (86%) of smallholders own a personal mobile phone, which is an asset on which financial service providers can rely on to
develop appropriate delivery channels. Some cooperatives have savings schemes
for farmers to encourage them to put money aside rather than borrow, but they
keep these savings in cash and take on the risk. They do not necessarily have a
clear register of farmers’ withdrawals. Other farmers use traditional banks in
the nearest town, but have to travel to get there, or have a mobile wallet with
a limited savings amount.
Managing Director Chris De Noose said: “With this project, Advans aims to
tackle past challenges financial services providers have faced in widening
financial services take-up by rural people. Innovation will be key in the
project so as to shorten customer sign-up delays, better address certain
barriers to opening accounts – especially the biometric ID card requirement –
as well as capitalising on the potential of mobile banking.”
James Pieper, media relations, WSBI, +32 2 211 1192 or at email@example.com
Ivorian agriculture represents a nearly a fifth of the country's gross domestic product, employs 68% of labour and represents 40% of export income (CGAP survey). Despite being vital to the economy, 72% of farmers are still below the poverty line and less than 10% have an account at a formal financial institution (CGAP survey).
Studies have shown that although farmers do not have access to financial services, there is a high interest for all types of services. A recent CGAP survey found that the majority of Ivoirian small holder farmers believe that access to insurance (85%), a bank/current account (82%), a mobile money account (80%), savings account (76%) and loans (63%) are highly important for their households.
According to the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), smallholder farms are the backbone of agricultural production in developing countries. IFPRI notes that small, family-run farms are also home to the majority of people living in absolute poverty, and half of the world's undernourished people. Four-fifths of the developing world's food is a product of small-sized farms, says the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
Paris-based Advans Group aims to respond to the need of small
businesses and other populations who have ill-adapted, limited or no access to
formal financial services. Created in 2005, the group takes strategic focus on
rural populations subsidiaries in nine countries in Africa and Asia. Advans’
microfinance institution, Advans Cote d’Ivoire, was created in 2009 and
opened in 2012 in Cote d’Ivoire serves 100.000 clients through a network of 19
branches in cities. It has a loan book of €92 million and €50 million in
WSBI represents the interests of 6,000 savings and retail banks globally, with total assets of $15 trillion and serving some 1.3 billion customers in nearly 80 countries (as of 2016). WSBI focuses on international regulatory issues that affect the savings and retail banking industry. It supports the aims of the G20 in achieving sustainable, inclusive, and balanced growth, and job creation, whether in industrialised or less developed countries. WSBI favours an inclusive form of globalization that is just and fair, supporting international efforts to advance financial access and financial usage for everyone. Learn more at: www.wsbi-esbg.org
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