Rural, agricultural and SME financing

© GIZ

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.