Microfinance in East Africa: Schemes for Women in the Coffee Sector

Overview of savings and credit landscape for women
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The paper is an overview of the microfinance sector in East Africa, and particularly focuses on schemes for women engaged in the production and processing of coffee in Uganda and Kenya.

The coffee sector has a huge potential to contribute to poverty alleviation in East Africa. Its development, however, is hampered by a lack of savings and credit facilities. Women’s access to financial services is even more restricted than that of men, and most women in rural areas continue to save in secret hiding places, and borrow from shops and agricultural input wholesalers.

Donors can contribute to the development of financial services for women engaged in coffee by strengthening entrepreneurial skills, supporting financial institutions in rural outreach, developing appropriate financial services, and creating links between village banks and formal financial institutions. The paper discusses:

  • Role and importance of microfinance for women engaged in the coffee sector;
  • Key microfinance players, and reviews current trends;
  • Reasons for limited coverage by microfinance of women engaged in the sector;
  • Suggestions to increase reach;
  • Additional sources of information on the topic.

About this Publication

By Stanculescu, D., Scholer, M. & Gibson, L.