Access to financial services is an important contributor to enterprise productivity the world over. In Sub-Saharan Africa, where most people still live in rural areas and agriculture is the mainstay of the rural economy, access to financial services of all kinds is still poor. Yet relatively little is known about the demand for, the supply of and effective access to rural and agricultural finance and about the policies, institutions and many other factors that determine them.
As part of its purpose to make financial markets work for the poor in Africa, FinMark Trust commissioned the Centre for Inclusive Banking in Africa to undertake a study to examine and document the current state of rural and agricultural financial services in Southern Africa, as the first phase of a 3-year programme to increase access to and the uptake of such services. Research was undertaken in six Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries – Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.