December 15, 2015
Dec 15

Clinton Development Initiative and Visa Announce Partnership to Link Farmers in Rwanda to Digital Payments

Press Release

Partnership will connect smallholder farmers to digital payments and bank accounts that improve financial literacy and security

New York — The Clinton Development Initiative (CDI), an initiative of the Clinton Foundation, and Visa today announced a partnership to enable farmers in Rwanda to conduct business transactions digitally. This effort will connect individual farmers and cooperatives with banks, agrodealers, retailers, commodity processers, crop buyers, and other producers, creating a digital payments ecosystem. These connections help improve farmers’ financial security and empower them economically to make purchases with greater knowledge and ease.

CDI’s work in Rwanda focuses on helping farmers improve their livelihoods through better training, improved connection to markets and inputs, and stronger linkages between farmers, producers, and other stakeholders in the agricultural sector. This work, coupled with Visa’s expertise in global electronic payment systems and promoting financial literacy, will allow farmers to take a larger role in agricultural financing.

Visa’s solution ensures a secure and efficient way of transacting by using digital payment, thus reducing the need for cash within the value chain. With the dramatic increase in mobile phone usage in sub-Saharan Africa, including Rwanda, the new offering removes the burden and inefficiencies which come from handling large amounts of cash and brings thousands of unbanked smallholder farmers into the formal financial sector through the use of mobile platforms.

Building on projects currently being implemented by CDI, the digital payments ecosystem will connect agribusiness stakeholders, allowing farmers to compete equitably in economic markets.

“We work to empower farmers in Rwanda – giving them the knowledge and resources to improve their yields, improve their profitability, and improve their livelihoods,” said Walker Morris, CEO of the Clinton Development Initiative. “This new offering with Visa will improve the financial stability and security of these farmers. Farmers will have the resources and training to take advantage of digital payments, connecting them to Rwanda’s growing economy.”

Said Stephen Kehoe, Senior Vice President for Global Financial Inclusion at Visa: “The main barrier to increasing the yield of individual farmers is lack of access to working capital.  A secondary concern is making sure they get paid more quickly for their harvests.  We think we can solve both sides of this equation if we both digitize the payment process and educate farmers, which is what this partnership with CDI is designed to achieve.” 

This effort takes advantage of Visa’s development of a broader payment landscape– for example merchants who accept payments and consumers who make payments, as well as its partnership with banks in country and beyond. Through these connections, CDI’s smallholder farmer training and market access program will help farmers adapt to digital payments to increase their money management and business skills while establishing a strong foundation for economic development.

The partnership will consist of a two-phased program, starting with a pilot in Kayonza and Gatsibo districts, which are located in Rwanda’s Eastern Province. In the first phase, one farmers’ cooperative will receive financial literacy training and have access to and test a Visa product through which they will receive and make value-chain payments.  This will enable CDI and Visa to learn how to best understand the deeply felt and unmet needs of the farmers, which will inform scale-up efforts in the second phase.  Coupled with in-depth impact analysis, the pilot will help lay the foundation on which CDI and Visa roll-out the most fitting financial services to CDI’s farmer network in Rwanda.