Rural, agricultural and SME financing


People in rural areas often have no access to financial services. GIZ works with all stakeholders to change this.

A large proportion of the poor in GIZ’s partner countries live in rural regions, where it is still difficult for individuals and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to use financial services. Factors such as low population density, long distances and weather risks all play a role in this. Furthermore, financial service providers often lack the knowledge and approaches needed to finance SMEs, especially those in agricultural production.

At the same time, innovative digital marketing channels and services have grown significantly in recent years. They provide new options for accessing financial products and services such as saving schemes, loans and money transfers.

GIZ is committed to improving the financial inclusion of rural households and enterprises, as a prerequisite for enabling people to manage their money properly and reduce the risks in their lives. They need the right financial products to take advantage of economic opportunities. This enables rural enterprises, for example, to invest in expanding production, and family businesses to buy seeds and fertiliser. The benefits are felt by the rural economy as a whole.

GIZ works on various levels to ensure that financial services are accessible in rural regions:

  • It advises central banks on issues concerning the regulation and supervision of, for example, digital financial services and microfinance and cooperative banks (macro level).
  • It strengthens associations and service providers and offers support to credit cooperatives and bank branches in rural areas on issues such as controlling, standardisation, reporting, training activities and deposit protection. In doing so, GIZ works with the Sparkassenstiftung für internationale Kooperation and the Deutscher Genossenschafts- und Raiffeisenverband (German Cooperative and Raiffeisen Confederation, DGRV) (meso level).
  • It supports the creation of departments for loan and deposit business at financial institutions. It advises financial institutions on introducing needs-based financial products for rural households, agricultural producers and small family enterprises. Financial institutions and technical service providers receive advice on using digital channels, enabling them to offer their services more efficiently and at a better price. Further topics on the agenda include transparent pricing and how to deal with customers fairly. Most importantly, GIZ improves the basic financial education of people living in rural areas and advises them on the sustainable use of money transfers (micro level).
  • In addition, GIZ supports dialogue within the financial sector, and conducts sector analyses and market studies.

Additional information

Women Entrepreneurs around the globe are creating jobs, driving prosperity in their communities, strengthening industries, and fueling innovation. According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2021/22 data, Women Entrepreneurs represent about one in three growth-oriented entrepreneurs active in the world today. Not only are women approaching parity with men in start-up activities, but they are highly involved in high-growth entrepreneurship and clearly making a significant impact in their markets, communities, and national economies. However, there is plenty of evidence to show that women-owned SMEs in developing countries cannot access the capital they need; they face an estimated credit deficit of nearly $1.5 trillion. And the COVID -19 pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on women-led SMEs, which are concentrated in consumer-facing sectors where the demand shock hit hardest. This Women Entrepreneurs Financing & Investment (We-FIT) toolkit has been designed to bring together evidence, approaches, and examples on how to address the financing and investment needs of women-led businesses in a structured and easy to use framework. The toolkit will allow practitioners to understand the key characteristics of women-led businesses, including constraints, challenges, and opportunities they face in accessing and using finance at each step of the SME journey (from start-up, to growth and expansion, and finally maturity); learn about validated approaches and promising strategies to address the barriers and constraints in the financial system; and access tools and resources that they can use to develop programs or interventions, as well as monitor and measure their impact.