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Policy brief: ICT enabling rural financial services and micro-insurance for smallholders (ICT in Agriculture Sourcebook forum #6)

Michael Riggs's picture

The World Bank, in collaboration with the e-Agriculture community and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), held a series of two week online forums. These e-forums stem from the launch of the World Bank's ICT in Agriculture e-Sourcebook (2011) and the growing demand for knowledge on how to use ICT to improve agricultural productivity and raise smallholder incomes. The following summary captures the discussion during one of six e-forums. The text is derived strictly from the participants' posts during the forum and does not reflect the views of the World Bank or FAO.


In Sub-Saharan Africa, 60-70% of the population live in rural areas, with the majority engaged in agriculture. Yet most of this population does not have access to formal financial services. A similar situation is found globally as shown in a graph from data found in Financial Access 2010 (report on statistics for financial access).

According to the ICT in Agriculture Sourcebook (Module 7), “ICT has created the potential to deliver a greater diversity of financial products to greater numbers of rural clients than conventional financial service providers have been able to reach. ICT can also enhance the government’s capacity to monitor and evaluate financial services provided to rural clients and design effective financial policies and regulations for the rural sector.”

 The Summary is attached (PDF)