Migrant Farmers, Impact Investing, Mobile Money – Top Picks of the Microfinance Blogosphere

> Posted by Center Staff

Financial inclusion efforts often emerge in places you wouldn’t expect. For this edition of Top Picks, we spotlight a few of these unsuspecting areas – financial services to support farmer migration, early stage impact investing – and share research on one of  the inclusion community’s hottest topics: mobile money.

  • Subsistence farmers in regions with long off-seasons face an essential question: Do you stay put and stretch incomes to withstand unproductive periods, or do you migrate during off-seasons to find temporary labor? A new post on the Financial Access Initiative (FAI) Blog highlights recent research from the Centre for Economic Policy Research on the potential for financial services to help farmers overcome the risks associated with migrating and attain supplemented incomes. The researchers found that offering a conditional cash or credit incentive for farmers to migrate nearly doubled their likelihood of migration, and that a large portion of these migraters continued doing so after the incentive was removed. Many of the surveyed reported forming relationships with their temporary employers and returning to work for them in subsequent off-seasons.
  • The perception that there is a lack of investable opportunities is hampering the growth of the impact investing industry, according to Paul Breloff in a new Next Billion post. Managing Director of Accion Venture Lab, Breloff brings attention to recent reports from JP Morgan and Village Capital revealing this sentiment, and shares the investing approach of Venture Lab, which has yielded a strong pipeline of investable companies. Venture Lab’s three-prong strategy is invest earlier, tolerate more uncertainty, and concentrate on big-picture priorities over returns.
  • Eighty-seven percent of mobile money transactions in Pakistan are not conducted through an account, but are completed using over-the-counter (OTC) means through an agent. Dan Radcliffe of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Peter Goldstein of Intermedia offer this and other findings on Pakistan’s mobile money adoption barriers in a new GSMA Blog post. The data comes by way of a 5,000 household survey, part of the Financial Inclusion Tracker Survey (FITS) project (we previously posted on FITS, here). Pakistan’s barriers to mobile money adoption include hassles surrounding opening an account, the perception that OTC services are enough to satisfy service needs, and closed mobile network service loops that restrict transaction recipients.

Image credit: Ianf