Fund for Rural Prosperity Winners Announced

We recently announced the second round of winners within the $50 million Fund for Rural Prosperity. The Fund, launched in 2015, has already committed over $17.5 million. Some $6.9 million under the Fund’s Innovation Competition was given in support to nine companies in October, 2015. The other $10.6 million is being attributed now under the Fund’s Scaling Competition.

Five companies representing a full range of business models for agriculture finance are the winners in the Scaling Competition:

  • APA Insurance Ltd.
  • Finserve Africa Ltd./Equitel
  • Musoni Kenya Ltd.
  • Olam Uganda Ltd.

The Fund for Rural Prosperity is designed to catalyse the private sector to serve segments it would not ordinarily serve. The five winning companies represent innovations addressing core constraints to financial access for low-income households.

Finserve Africa Ltd./Equitel is offering one of the first fully digital models for rural finance, while M-Kopa is leveraging lessons learnt and credit histories from their core product – solar energy kits – to extend agriculture finance to smallholder customers. APA is expanding a tested model for de-risking agriculture and livestock through index insurance, while Olam is digitising value chain payments and broader financial offerings for smallholder coffee suppliers. Musoni is expanding a nearly branchless microfinance institution using demand side insights to offer a unique suite of products.

At the Foundation, we believe that rural financial inclusion at scale can only come from constant internal innovation. This is what we looked for among applicants – a sense of whether the company had the staying power to go beyond trying new models by constantly refining processes and developing a template for growth, either for agriculture finance or even adjacent business lines.

The opening of the 2016 Scaling Competition under the Fund for Rural Prosperity has also been announced. This is a call for new partners working to broaden and deepen financial inclusion in rural Africa. To learn more or submit an application, please go to www.frp.org.

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