This development was made known at the ongoing African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF ) taking place in Nairobi, Kenya.
According to Ann Miles, MasterCard’s Director of Financial Inclusion and Youth Livelihoods, the essence of the collaboration is to help increase incomes and opportunities for farmers saying ” 4,000 employees of agricultural businesses, 300,000 smallholder farmers, and over two million farm family members will benefit from the collaboration”.
The MasterCard Foundation, in the past five years, has committed $5.2 million to Root Capital to support early-stage agricultural businesses that generate transformational impact in rural communities in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Senegal.
Over the years, middlemen have exploited small-scale rural farmers to the extent that most of them end up being poor. This is because these farmers do not have access to predictable markets for their crops, as a result, they are forced to accept lower prices.
While the global credit supply for smallholders has grown in recent years, it is geographically lopsided with less than 10 percent of financial flows reaching sub-Saharan Africa. In order to solve the issue of the lack of financial inflow, Root Capital has been working in West Africa for over seven years and has provided loans worth between $50,000 and $2 million to 52 agricultural businesses. So far, this has raised the incomes of about 12,000 employees and over 190,000 smallholder farmers.
Root Capital has also scaled its advisory program in the region, offering agricultural business leaders a suite of training modules to develop the leadership and financial management skills they need to grow and sustain their businesses. According to Diaka Sall, the General Manager for Root Capital West Africa, the support of the MasterCard Foundation will enable Root Capital to increasingly target earlier-stage businesses in West Africa that operate on the fringes of financial inclusion.
What is Root Capital’s alliance with the Master Card all about?
The Root Capital will collaborate with the MasterCard Foundation to do the following:
1. Accelerate the bankability and growth of more than 100 high-impact, early-stage agricultural businesses with capital needs under $150,000 or business revenues under $300,000.
2. Pilot an expanded set of advisory services, including leadership development of agribusiness employees, financial literacy training for smallholder farmers, mobile technology, and mobile money.
3. This initiative will also help address the urgent need of early-stage West African agribusinesses for capital and capacity building.