Kiva, Mastercard expand financial access in Africa

Kiva together with MasterCard Foundation have on Tuesday announced a $7.9 million partnership to expand financial access among smallholder farmers and rural populations in Africa

Kiva a Global crowdfunding platform for social good with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty aims to push the boundaries of microcredit by developing, scaling and replicating high-impact, client-centered loan product.

The five-year project seeks to test and scale financial services and loan products tailored to the unique needs of smallholder farmers and rural populations in Sub-Saharan Africa.

“This partnership enables Kiva to bring our crowdfunded, risk-tolerant, patient capital to microlenders and social enterprises willing to try new evidence-based loan products that would otherwise be deemed too risky or unproven to try,” said Premal Shah, President and cofounder of Kiva.

“Throughout the lifespan of the project we will test what works, experiment with scalability and replication, and share our results across the financial inclusion sector.”

“Kiva has demonstrated ingenuity in developing new ways to enable smallholder farmers and others living in rural and remote areas of Africa to access the working capital they need and want,” said Ann Miles, Director of Financial Inclusion and Youth Livelihoods at The MasterCard Foundation.

“We’re proud to partner with Kiva and Kiva Labs to support innovation in this important sector, expand the range of possibilities and empower larger numbers of people to improve their livelihoods.” she added

Kiva has set out to change this picture through Kiva Labs, a set of experimental partners and loan products designed to encourage innovation in the microcredit and social enterprise sectors.

Kiva Labs’ partners such as Juhudi Kilimo have developed successful models for financing under collateralized, productive, moveable assets like hybrid dairy cows that more traditional providers view as too high-risk. Nevertheless, these models are set to bring sustainable productivity gains and wealth creation for clients.