Region: Sub-Saharan Africa
Type of Client: International Organisation
Year: May-October 2018
Niger situated in the West of Africa and southeast of Algeria, as of July 2018 estimates has a population of 19,866,23. The UN ranked Niger as the second least developed country in the world in 2016 due to multiple factors such as food insecurity, lack of industry, high population growth, a weak educational sector, and few prospects for work outside of subsistence farming and herding. Access to financial services remains limited in Niger. As of 2017, only 16% of the population had acess to formal accounts. Due to prohibitive costs, perceived cumbersomeness of banks with high documentation requirements and lack of proximity, only 3 percent of the population have access to commercial banking services. The microfinance sector has a better outreach than the banking sector.
In order to increase the access of small holder crop farmers to financial services in Niger by providing financial institutions (FI) with Investment and Advisory Services, the client engaged Amarante Consulting to conduct an opportunity sizing/mapping of the financial services sector, including banks, microfinance institutions, payment service providers, digital financial service (DFS) providers and agricultural finance actors with an additional focus on identifying opportunities (such as digitalization) for stakeholders within value chains, particularly with an aim of supporting financial inclusion for small holder crop farmers
Project/Services We Provided
We helped in supporting the delivery of the following work streams:
- Research the strengths and weaknesses of Niger business environment for financial services, DFS and agricultural finance in Niger through:
- an overview of local laws, regulations, policies and financial infrastructure
- an analysis of key barriers to digital financial services, financial inclusion, agricultural finance and constraints to individuals, value chains, corporate institutions and SMEs face in accessing these services in each country
- an analysis of existing publicly available data to define and size the current DFS providers in the country
- A demand side research through focus group discussions with 96 farmers and other stakeholders along with in-depth interviews with 360 farmers and other stakeholders based on which we provided recommendations to the client.
- A report that recommends steps and actions for regulatory authorities, banks, digital finance players and other financial institutions to increase access to finance for the Agri-business segment and potential opportunities of investment for IFC