Synthesis of Conference Evaluations: Structure and Design of Conference, Barriers to Rural Finance and Furthering the Dialogue
The conference was attended by 400 representatives from 50 countries. The organizers designed a consultative group work ethic for the gathering. This involved conference calls, emails and a website. A questionnaire evaluated this efficiently organized conference. Using the survey as a base, the representatives were classified on:
- Specialization in rural finance;
- Profile and position;
- Motivation and expectations of the conference;
- Importance given to plenary and breakout topics;
The participants listed a number of ways to improve future events and also the areas where attention was needed. These were:
- Agricultural issues;
- Private bank involvement in rural finance;
- Donor funding for projects and post donor impact.
The participants identified barriers to successful rural finance as:
- Incomplete understanding of the rural financial economy;
- Misaligned policy design;
- Government and donor interventions;
- Weak agribusines;
- Unsupportive legal and regulatory framework;
- Banks that consider rural finance too risky and expensive.
The conference concluded with the following:
- The agribusiness sector has a large informal field;
- Records and tools should be kept for future initiatives;
- The rural sector should be treated independently;
- Donor coordination is essential;
- Rural finance policy design process should be reconsidered.