Close-up of crops growing


Working with smallholder farming communities who are creating and growing their agriculture businesses

Close-up of crops growing

History & Background

Throughout Eastern and Southern Africa, access to finance is often a major constraint for smallholder farmers due to numerous challenges including incomplete or non existent credit history, perceptions of risk by both parties, and high interest rates.

The Clinton Development Initiative (CDI) helps link farming communities to financial institutions and provides training and other resources to help increase engagement with the financial sector.


As part of CDI’s efforts to support smallholder farmers in becoming more resilient and to create more sustainable businesses, we work with partners to help farmers train and collaborate on financial literacy, promote a savings culture, build credit history, access pre-and-post-season loans, establish and expand on trusting relationships and more. CDI also creates loan packages tailored specifically for farmer cooperatives and help build relationships between farmer cooperatives and banks such as Bank of Africa, and Standard Bank, and Tanzania Agriculture Development Bank. These efforts help to:

  • 1

    Work with banks

    to help generate loan packages and negotiate lower interest rates for farmers

  • 2

    Build farmers' credit history

    and ability to secure additional financing, partnerships, and other business opportunities

  • 3

    Increase farmers' production

    and access to markets that offer premium prices

  • 4

    Expand farmers' savings

    and support sustainable economic growth


At the Clinton Foundation, we believe data should be used to guide how programs are designed and implemented. We leverage both quantitative and qualitative information in order to promote evidence-based decision-making and help the Foundation and our community of partners achieve greater results in people’s lives across the country and around the world.

  • 550


    are working with CDI to increase financial literacy and savings culture for farmer members across Malawi, Rwanda, and Tanzania.

  • $150K


    directly to 22 farming cooperatives across Malawi and Rwanda in 2021 from formal financial institutions with a 30% saving on interest rates compared to banks which CDI did not support on loan negotiations.

“Our purpose statement at Standard Bank PLC’s says “Malawi is our home we drive her growth”, meaning we will not achieve this alone but through building strategic partnerships with various organizations and farming groups. We believe CDI’s initiative to empower farming communities with market opportunities will not only support livelihood of small-scale farmers but also contribute to the economy of Malawi at large.”

Graham Chipande, Head of Relationship Banking, Standard Bank

“This [work] will enable farmers to timely procure commodities from their fellow farmers during harvest hence improving farmgate prices for small holders who can be prone to predatory pricing and marketing tactics by middlemen. The access to finance also gives farmers an opportunity to deal with a commercial bank which helps them to grow their entrepreneurship mind hence sustainability of the business.”

Graham Chipande, Head of Relationship Banking, Standard Bank