In Mali, efforts by the USAID Cereal Value Chain (CVC) Project, implemented by ACDI/VOCA, to improve access to finance and financial services for smallholder farmers unlocked more than US$12,920,674 in financing for 59,253 farmers and agribusinesses, while supporting 12 financial institutions in expanding their agribusiness portfolios. Much of this success is attributed to the formation of a financial intermediation group called the Association of Professionals in Financial Intermediation of Mali, or APIFIMA, which ACDI/VOCA was instrumental in creating.

The most significant impact of this group is lower default rates on agricultural loans. In 2015, prominent agricultural lending institutions faced annual default rates of up to 39 percent. Since the introduction of financial intermediaries, this rate has dropped to less than 7 percent for borrowers supported by the USAID CVC Project. The lowered default rates resulted from APIFIMA consultants who directly supported loan repayments as part of the intermediation process.

The positive rates also resulted from the expansion of microfinance institutions and banks with new branches that increased their agribusiness portfolios. The microfinance institution Soroyiriwaso, for example, created an agricultural lending unit and opened new branches to better serve agricultural clients. Other banks, such as Banque Malienne de la Solidarité, Banque International pour le Mali, Ecobank, and Bank of Africa all increased their interest in the agricultural sector because they are better able to analyze risk and have improved client reimbursement rates.

APIFIMA was formally established in 2017 and currently has 35 financial intermediary members. Though still a new organization, APIFIMA plays an integral role in ensuring the sustainability of financial intermediaries. The association intends to partner with financial institutions to be their technical arm in agriculture. APIFIMA services will include market research, management training, and continued facilitation of loan applications. The association will also ensure a professional code of conduct among its members.

Learn more about the USAID Cereal Value Chain Project.

Learn more about our work in Mali.