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Question 5 (opens 28 May) What are the regulatory challenges faced in ICT and rural financial services?

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Question 5 (opens 28 May) What are the regulatory challenges faced in ICT and rural financial services?

Question 5
     What are the key regulatory challenges, both on the mobile phone and banking/insurance, in using ICT to deliver agri loan and insurance products?
     What does it take to overcome these challenges?

saripalli's picture
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Dta transfer-and key login features and web confirmation

Digitalization and encrypting the codes,and storage in multiple servers,as well having an unique Identity Card with all details of property,banking and other detailed in multiple formats are necessary,even if the loan dispersal takes 2 to 3 days shall generally o.k.

For loans,for insurence reimbursement etc.For payments for seeds,for pesticides,for personal loans ,as required number of days to process the data from the mobile,and the making a pass,and payment option could be as per general systems.

Michael Riggs's picture
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RE: [e-Agriculture] Question 5 (opens 28 May) What are the regul

Thank you for these inputs. Interesting points in every case. As I understand you point to the need for standards and specifications for individual digital identities, as well as standards for the processes around rural financial services.

 

In addition to these needs, have any existing regulations been identified that prevent rural financial services from reaching their full potential?

 

 

 

Dick Tinsley's picture
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Overall Thoughts on Micro-Finance for Smallholder

While I recognize this forum is mostly concerned with the application of ICT to rural finances, would it be completely inappropriate to think about the overall mechanism for providing financial services to rural communities to promote poverty alleviation of smallholder farmers and their communities? Are we providing the most effective services for the money being invested? Is there a better opportunity to make some suggestions to the micro-finance community on how the micro-finance programs could possibly be more effective in serving the smallholder farmers and assisting them get out of poverty?
  As I understand it, most of the micro finance for smallholders is production credit for purchase of inputs such as certified seed, fertilizer and plant protection chemicals. Also, this is usually administered through some form of farmer organization often utilizing credit clubs in which club members are expected to assure each other of loan repayment, and in the event of non-repayment of individual the other members of the club will have part of their crop confiscated to cover the loss. Something that can be highly antagonistic to those whose crop is confiscated. I believe this has been the bases for most of rural development projects for the past couple decades. I also believe that these programs require continual external facilitation and while available can claim some success, but the project ultimately collapse once the external facilitation effort ends.  I also feel there is considerable spin reporting promoting these programs even when there is only limited participation by the intended beneficiaries who, perhaps wisely, take most of their business elsewhere, even when members of the program. Much of this could be concern for having their crop confiscated to cover a defaulting loan.
Very little credit is provided to the service providers to allow them to more effectively serve the smallholder producers by enhancing the operating environment in which the smallholders operate that will allow them to enhance their yields, the yield recovery and quality of marketed crop. Most of the time the relationship between smallholder producer and service provider has been considered as an exploitive praetor/prey when it might better be considered as symbiotic with each dependent upon the other, in an overall suppressed economic environment that already curtails profit margins.
The service providers would not only include the agro-dealers who provide the inputs and through whom they market their crops, but also those providing mechanical assistance such as tractor owner/operators who can provide contract tillage. This would greatly enhance crop establishment time substantially increasing the yield potential. It is often overlooked as operational limitation are rarely considered with the assumption there may be a surplus of labor available to smallholder, and being nearly oblivious to the dietary calories available that might limit the work day to as little as 4 hours and total crop establishment extended to over 8 weeks. With the dietary energy available it is virtually impossible for smallholders to manually dig themselves out of poverty.
Other opportunities for service providers to enhance the returns of smallholder would be through mechanical threshing of various crops. Typically this will provide a 10 to 15% increase recovery over more common whacking or trampling and provide a cleaner final product that would require less winnowing, if any. This additional recovery could more than pay for the service even if the charge was a 5% in-kind payment. Also, some mechanical winnowing would easier allow a cleaner final sale that could come close to meeting the > 1% foreign material and command up to 10% higher price, or perhaps avoid have the value discounted as the trader would eventually have to pay to have the crop cleaned before being sold to the consumer or processor.

Out of space to be continued as following comment

Dick Tinsley's picture
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Continuation of comments

In order to include service providers it might be necessary to consider some major restructuring of how micro financing is provided. This would be particularly true when considering downstream benefits, and the need to cover some capital costs. For example in the case of contract tillage their might be a need for 2 levels of loans. The first to cover the capital cost of acquiring a reconditioned used tractor with such things as set of triple disc plows and trailer.  This would represent a capital purchase of some US$12,000 but for which the tractor and equipment could serve as collateral and become a secured loan. However, since contract tillage is needed at the beginning of the season there might also be a need for an unsecured loan to allow the owner/operator to provide his services on credit against an in-kind payment after harvest. This would follow the normal rules of informal credit as is currently done for tillage loans.
This also implies a need to revisit the informal credit system. While the stated interest is usually a usury seasonal rate of 100%, the real question is how much of this rate is based on availability of capital and how much is the administrative overhead incurred by the lenders to cover some possible excessive games being played by the borrowers. Also, what kind of in-kind discounts are offered to those who repay their loan with a nice clean bag of grain shortly after harvest? Unfortunately the lender has to quote the interest in anticipation of all the possible games that can be played and then discount when farmers make for prompt repayments.
This would also apply to agro-dealers providing the inputs. Could they be provided with loans that will allow them to provide inputs on credit to the smallholder farmers? Won’t they be the default service providers if the farmer organizations collapse when external funding ends? Thus might it not be better to work with them from the beginning. They also can deal with the farmers as individuals, respecting them as the individual entrepreneurs they are, and as members of the same community have a better grasp on their credit worthiness. Wouldn’t working with agro-dealers and other service providers allow for larger loans, and thus lower the overhead costs at least as a percent of the loan, and thus wouldn’t this have a better chance of providing a more durable input that could outlast the external facilitation.
I hope this provides some ideas to think about.
Please visit my website and specific pages for more details on the ideas expressed above.
http://www.smallholderagriculture.com/ .
http://lamar.colostate.edu/~rtinsley/FinancialSuppressed.htm  .
http://lamar.colostate.edu/~rtinsley/CalorieEnergyBalance.htm .
http://lamar.colostate.edu/~rtinsley/DeceptiveReporting.html .
http://lamar.colostate.edu/~rtinsley/Symbiotic.htm .
http://lamar.colostate.edu/~rtinsley/InformalCredit.htm .

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many challenges - can ICT help?

Dear Dick, thank you for all this, which is indeed a lot to consider.

As ICT is the particular focus of this community as well as the forum, as you've noted, do you think any of the challenges you have detailed could be resolved (at least in part) by some use of ICT?

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More thoughts on micro finance for smallholders

Dick,

I liked what you had to say regarding the general focus of discussions on delivering financial servicesto smallholders . Most seem concerned with improving the efficiency of credit delivery and recovery. Virtually no attention is being given to the topics of rural savings deposit mobilization nor regarding the absolutely important topic of rural finance intermediation, i.e. the importance of building a balance between smallholder savings deposit mobilization and  credit delivery and recovery.  The "credit need creed" spin in these discussions remains in spite of overwhelming empirical evidence that it does not lead to a sustainable  smallholder agriculture nor does it strengthen smallholder financial self-reliance, nor does it strengthen the self-sufficiency of most rurral finance.

The question I would like to see raised is how can ICT help redress and strengthen the balance betwee the credit and savings sides of the rural fianc intermediation?

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Regulation in Using ICT

When we are talking about reaching rural populations with mobile banking, agent regulation is key. Banks simply cannot serve rural populaitons effectively through branches which are expensive to build and maintain. By using agents, often retailers - sometimes very informal ones, to serve as cash-in and cash-out points, the cost of reaching rural populations can be greatly reduced, making business models viable. But to use agents effectively, regulation must permit a wide range of actors to act as agents. If agent regulation is too restrictive, agent networks will be too difficult to develop- ultimately impacting customer take up. Many regulators have gradually become more liberal in permitting the use of banking agents - taking comfort in the fact that the service provider (the bank or MNO) is ultimately liable for agent actions undertaken in the course of their agency. CGAP has written a number of publications on agent regulation including "Regulating Banking Agents" located at http://www.cgap.org/publications/regulating-banking-agents

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Another key area for

Another key area for regulation is whether nonbanks such as Mobile Network Operators can issue electronic money directly - or whether they have to rely on a bank partner. MNOs are experienced in managing networks of retailers specialized in low-value, high-volume transactions (airtime resellers) so are uniquely positioned to use agents and process the type of low-value payments poor people might make. Although M-PESA is a successful example of these nonbank models, most regulators are still uncomfortable allowing nonbanks to take the lead, arguing that electronic money is effectively banking and requires a bank license. This can sometimes result in forcing MNO-bank partnerships which often don't work (often as a result of being unable to agree on how to divide revenue and who owns the customer). But allowing nonbanks to enter this space could increase competition and result in more successful outreach. CGAP has also published a Focus Note on Nonbank E-Money Issuers and how they can be regulated: http://www.cgap.org/publications/nonbank-e-money-issuers 

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RE: [e-Agriculture] Question 5 (opens 28 May) What are the regul

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</o:shapelayout></xml><![endif]--></head><body lang=EN-US link=blue vlink=purple><div class=WordSection1><p class=MsoNormal><span style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif";color:#1F497D'>Thanks for sharing these insights Michael.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class=MsoNormal><span style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif";color:#1F497D'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class=MsoNormal><span style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif";color:#1F497D'>Are there examples where regulators have successfully removed regulatory barriers to allow nonbanks (such as MNOs) to become active in mobile money services? <o:p></o:p></span></p><p class=MsoNormal><span style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif";color:#1F497D'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class=MsoNormal><span style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif";color:#1F497D'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class=MsoNormal><span style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif";color:#1F497D'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><div style='border:none;border-top:solid #B5C4DF 1.0pt;padding:3.0pt 0cm 0cm 0cm'><p class=MsoNormal><b><span style='font-size:10.0pt;font-family:"Tahoma","sans-serif"'>

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Banking as an instrument is controlled by the Central Bank

Banking is controlled under Bessal accords internationally.The experience form microfinance institutions in Asian countries,is that they need to be regulated.

The greediness for any one is endless,even under regulation,the credit cards charge at 2% to 3%  permonth in these parts.

It cannot be different if an uncontrolled microfinance charges differently.


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Insurance

Key challenges- do systems adequately explain products to customers? How can customers complain/ raise queries? Do customers understand product? Is the cost of ICT systems being transferred to customers and making products more expensive? 
 
Solution- ICT systems , which enhance customer understanding of products, referral to complaints team, speedy claims payouts, recovering costs via subsidies, from other stakeholders and recovering other expenses over time, depending on all policies, which would be serviced by the ICT systems. 

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Technology definitely has to be utilized

When Royal society of civil engineers was formed in 1820,it was aganist the Milatary engineers,who were confined in their duties to military work.

In 300 years,we have established so many engineering institutions,and this civil engineering was divided to mechanical,and electrical engineering etc.

Today we may have around 50 branches of engineering applied to various fields.

Differential equations,Tylors series,laplace equations made a logic for Engineering.

Lets us use the technologies,and make corrections as needed,based on experiences.

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Nonbank E-money Issuers

In response to the quetion from Michael Riggs, there are an increasing number of countries where regulators are removing obstacles to, or perhaps better phrased "enabling", nonbank e-money issuers. Nonbank issuers are permitted in many East African and East Asian countries and we are seeing it about to launch in areas where tradionally it has not been allowed. In South America, I understand Brazil and Peru are about to permit nonbank issuers (or may have done so already), and in the Arab world Jordan has done so (and may be followed by Morocco). There are still some highly populated countries with large rural and financially excluded populations where nonbank are still not permitted to issue e-money directly: Nigeria, India and Pakistan. Pakistan has quite a thriving branchless banking sector even though only banks (including microfinance banks)  are permitted to offer the service (though it must be said that in the case of one microfiannce bank offering mobile financil services, a controlling interset in it was purchased by an MNO - one way MNOs can enter this space if they can't be licensed directly.)

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Non banking financial services are registered in particular work

The field like lending for motor vehicles,lending to agriculture tools and plants,lending for crop seeds pesticides,lending for micro finance,that is how each category of finance model is approved under non banking category.

This again is under non banking finacial institutions controlled by the particular country central bank.

Things are audited and verified by the central bank,as per the companies laws available in the particular country.

It is true that none of the coutries want a 100% foreign controlled bank,where they do not have any control on the structure of taxation and other policies.

Even the companies need to have a local partner and local address for operations in the country,but for the tax heaven countries.

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The regulation of electronic money is a public duty

The financial inclusion in rural area is done nowadays through a nonbanking system driven initially by the Mobile Network Operators in transferring electronic money and payment facilities such as Ucom or Econet in Burundi, however, the credit savings and insurances are the basis of economy growth even in the rural area where farmers are established because rural farmers have a great need of loans not only for their farming inputs but also to restore their houses; to buy some foods mostly in the scarcity season, clothes, school kits for their kids and so on, nevertheless, commercial banks are not in speed for delivering loans to smallholders living sparsely in rural area, although some banks are more and more interested by the use of electronic money like the Commercial Bank of Burundi which launched on May 24th, 2013 Mcash, a financial product reliable to Mobicash international , prior, the Commercial Bank of Burundi got a new banking licence for electronic money from the Central Bank of Burundi but it is still working like MNO involved in transfer and payment facilities and has not yet delivered online credit savings nor insurances in rural area. Mcash should reach smallholders of remote area of Burundi in the upcoming days throughout the network of the Commercial Bank's stakeholders handling the biometric ATM patented RFID and it is projected that this kind of biometric ATM will be owned at least by one person living on each hill of Burundi.
By the way, credits and insurance have a positive and a negative value for the global economy, the positive value leads to the growth of economy and the negative value leads to the failure of economy, the two side must be balanced for avoiding the collapse of economy in inflation or in depression where the goods belonging to smallholders could drop for a long period.
I think that there are many difficulties of granting loans to the farmers of remote area even with electronic money as there is a lack of insurance companies for supporting smallholders seeking bank loans added that the online loans is a new financial product without a central checking point of electronic money flow in order to protect both the barrowers and the lenders. Indeed, I agree with the economic theory which asserts that loan lead to a kind of monetary creation, so the monetary mass created by the online loans delivered to the farmers through their handsets must be controlled by the Central bank which regulates normally the flow of money on the national level as well as on the international level.
I think that the Mobile Network Operators have to be self-regulated in their daily activities of credits saving or transferring electronic money to of from theirs customers; on the second step, an independent institution should monitor the electronic money transfer done by all nonbanks and banks operators and in the third step, the Central Bank has to be aware regularly of the state of electronic credit in the economy.
Besides, the mobile phones which are expected to play the role of cash-in and cash-out, increase the threat for people travelling and living near their handsets not only due of the new hackers but also from the danger on human health caused by the Wi-Fi waves as it has been proved recently, http://fr.news.yahoo.com/wifi-dangerosit%C3%A9-ondes-prouv%C3%A9e-%C3%A9tudiantes-lyc%C3%A9ennes-cresson-200612479.html
Also Governments from worldwide have the responsibility to take care of the safety of human or animal health and elsewhere the green agriculture which may be damaged by the new ICT devices, prior the dissemination of those electronic products in the clean rural communities because the smallholders have no means for checking those ICT devices but also should think that their mobile phones cause a little problem compared to the feed of their basic needs allowed by the ICT applications.

Prof Antoine KANTIZA, Master Uticef,-

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Prof.KANTIZA has stated the field problems

With due Regards,i was making the point in my way about  what Prof.Kantiza,has stated.

There are ways to over come these with the use of technology.But remeber that the system hackers and code brakers,and  non-eithical operation people are also living among us and they could be part of society if not our brothers and sisters.


Hence proper use of forensic sciences in each field is vital.That is why i said multiple servers,and little scrutiny on system than direct payment of money on mobile for all practicle purposes,except for seedilings and for pesticides,and such operations only.


Great discussion Mr.Michael Riggs,Ms.Julie and all friends

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The anticipation in solving impending problems

I agree with Saripelli in one hand related to the point of anticipating solutions and in other hand I don’t agree on the point of being fatalist when problems occur, the little income of smallholders have to be safeguarded in any cases of electronic money breaking as the nonbanks and banks operators are answerable of the safety and fairness of electronic money operations.

I think that nonbanks and banks involved in electronic money transactions have to find solutions to the plausible problems before they happen as it is well known that smallholders living in rural area are living mostly in illiteracy and believe that anything is safe in the use of new technologies.

In fact, the rural farmers have to be protected in case the system of direct transferring electronic money is damaged by hackers or other code breakers.

The nonbanks or banks operators in electronic money haven’t to be fatalists saying that wrongdoers are among our society when technical problems or non-ethical operations occur in electronic money transactions rather, they have to insure the electronic money accounts in the favor of smallholders who expect to enhance their farming activities through mobile money payment.

Prof Antoine KANTIZA, Master Uticef,-

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RE: [e-Agriculture] Question 5 (opens 28 May) What are the regul

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</o:shapelayout></xml><![endif]--></head><body lang=EN-US link=blue vlink=purple><div class=WordSection1><p class=MsoNormal><span style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif";color:#1F497D'>Thank you! We have enjoyed your participation and hope you will continue to discuss and share with the e-Agriculture Community on future topics. <o:p></o:p></span></p><p class=MsoNormal><span style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif";color:#1F497D'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class=MsoNormal><span style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif";color:#1F497D'>We will keep this forum open for posts for a few more days. Then it will be archived, and a summary report will be prepared. The summary “<a href="http://www.e-agriculture.org/policy-briefs-archive">policy brief</a>” should be available in July.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class=MsoNormal><span style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif";color:#1F497D'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class=MsoNormal><span style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif";color:#1F497D'>Regards to all,<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class=MsoNormal><span style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif";color:#1F497D'>Michael <o:p></o:p></span></p><p class=MsoNormal><span style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif";color:#1F497D'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class=MsoNormal><span style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif";color:#1F497D'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><div style='border:none;border-top:solid #B5C4DF 1.0pt;padding:3.0pt 0cm 0cm 0cm'><p class=MsoNormal><b><span style='font-size:10.0pt;font-family:"Tahoma","sans-serif"'>From

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