Founding Organizations


Rural Finance

Rural Finance
Rural finance is a sub-sector of the financial sector and refers to range of financial services provided in rural areas for agricultural and non-agricultural purposes, including credit, deposit, insurance, transfer/payment and remittance services. Since agriculture is an important source of rural employment, income, and food security, addressing the financial needs of poor agricultural households fits into the missions of rural finance institutions. Agricultural finance, a subset of rural finance, is dedicated specifically to financing agricultural-related activities such as inputs, production, storage, wholesale, processing and marketing goods. Agricultural finance includes financial services such as warehouse receipts systems, savings or other capitalization mechanisms that are specific to agriculture. 

Although the rural financial sector in the MedAgri region is still considered underdeveloped, the number of institutions providing rural and agricultural financial services has grown over the past decade and continues to grow. Loans to agriculture in the MedAgri region are generally offered mostly by specialized agricultural banks and commercial banks to large-scale clients, especially in agribusiness.

Microfinance (MF)
is the provision of financial services, such as deposit and credit services, to the entrepreneurial poor by different services providers, mostly referred to as microfinance institutions (MFIs), which are successfully making major inroads in serving rural areas and farmers. MFIs typically provide low-income households and small businesses that have relatively few assets to pledge as collateral access to financial services that they would not otherwise have access to by taking little or no collateral. MF is a relatively young industry in the MedAgri region but continues to grow. Egypt is the leader in MF in the MedAgri region and has the highest number of active clients. Jordan’s industry remains active with eight MF providers, three unemployment-lending programs and one Islamic lending program. Morocco has 12 licensed MFIs and is recognised as having some of the best performing MFIs in the world, serving around 1 million clients. Tunisia has the fewest active clients and is the least active in the region, although the one MFI in the country has consistently shown excellent performance. Compared with other regions, regulation of MFIs in the MedAgri region is more restrictive, and seems to inhibit outreach in some countries. Unlike in other countries, MFIs have not yet become an integral part of the financial sector, and banks have not yet started serving micro- and small enterprises. 
Sector resources